From here to paternity

By Ian C. Smith

When she leaves their first-born in his care

while releasing their next from his silken sac,

he nearly burns their home down, cooking.

He has priors for misdemeanours with fire.


When he supervises their second at play

the child takes off, a bare-arsed angel

mingling with aged tourists off a bus

while its dad bullshits with the lads.


When she is away earning their bread

he has to grip their squirming third-born

while a nervous intern sews a cut eyelid.

At the end of her day his face is still grey.


In Maternity, sated by her fourth birth,

she receives an out-of-hours visit.

Their eldest has fallen from the peach tree,

he tells her as the wrist is set in plaster.


Now, this father alone with their youngest,

lightning shocks them through an open window,

numbing their hands and arms temporarily,

her commerce with the gods of good fortune rehearsed.



Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Axon: Creative Explorations, The Best Australian Poetry, Island, Poetry Salzburg Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Southerly, & Westerly. His latest book is Here Where I Work, Ginninderra Press (Adelaide). He lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, Australia.

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