Flat Dad

by Patrick Brandon

I’d taken out the bones so that
he settled easily, dropping into a lazy S,
unless draped -as now- across a bench,
or hung – yesterday – from a branch.

Wherever I choose to rest and release
the weight of him, I am careful
to keep intact the parted tuft
of soft white hair.
I pitch camp and taste
the lichen-edge of billy water,
bite into a stale crust,
the sound internal of the jaw
working loud as feet through snow.

In the fly-cast drift, the hour-line
played out between my fingertips,
I wait for the river to tighten.
In the silence between each breath,
birdsong- hesitant; lacking a confidence
that will return, perhaps, when I am gone.

I collect myself, shake him out
in a slow wave, watch the crumbs scatter
and the dust rise, and shouldering him,
move on to the next town.