He was a sales rep,
he’d hit the road for weeks at a time
trying his best to flog carpets gadgets LP records —
god-knows-what! Once, he brought home for us
a sample volume full of the start
of a 100 illustrated stories
but not an ending in sight
despite my endless re-readings.
(I’m still waiting.) And then
there were the ukuleles, perhaps a swap
with some other travelling mate, their thin strings
strung as taut as the highest high-wire;
our fingers, however, they were
no tight-rope walkers.
Perhaps his head dreamed incessantly of Hawai’i
from our twanging Melbourne gloom.
You can’t blame him for trying, can you?
Now look at him, old salesman,
shadow of his former sell,
but after a lifetime, the story,
Hawai’i, these — undeniable —
stay true past us all.
Photograph: Moss, Quartz & Kangaroo Dung