To Robert Thompson

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

When you and I were ten you killed the baby. I learnt about it on the ra­dio on the way to a power ranger’s birth­day party. That night, I drank Coke with the sugar left in and we girls ran lit­tle pink cir­cles around each other for hours, only com­ing to­gether to cut to pieces some­one’s older brother. Walk­ing my lit­tle sis­ter to school the day af­ter see­ing you on the tele­vi­sion, I prac­tised hard­en­ing my hands, tried pic­tur­ing her fin­gers as prison bars I had to break. For years we would walk past a half-de­mol­ished home the yard lit­tered with stones like frags, and for many days I de­vel­oped imag­i­nary cal­louses try­ing to feel the weight of that brick in my hand, un­til much later, when I saw it was just a mat­ter of grav­ity that since you’d been born, you’d been fall­ing. Now you and I have grown up to­gether, but I’m still not at that point where I can take your mind in mine, feel that lit­tle hand you felt pulling away and only tighten my grip in re­sponse.

Caitlin Mal­ing

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