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after the Foxhead

by James Norcliffe


the truck driver who was not
famous rarely picked up
hitchhikers–there were too
many miles for that he said

nor did he ever get tired
it was his job not to get tired
though as he bent to his cue
his eyes did look a little bleary

as bleary as his glass smeared
with finger prints with the oil
and salt of a long long day
shipping families east to west

still sharp enough though
to pot ball after ball until
his friend grew too drunk
to want to play anymore

and then he handed over
the cue as if passing on
a responsibility asking
us to take real good care

though there was very
little to take care of really
just a lining up of the angles
and then staying perfectly still

deaf to the clink of glass
the sharp jukebox chords
and blind to all but the path
of the ball from point to point

barely mindful of the air
horns on the interstate like
the wrath of god the see saw
the jack-knife the pot of gold

 

James Norcliffe is an award-winning New Zealand poet and fiction writer. His fifth collection, Along Blueskin Road (Canterbury University Press), was published in 2005, and this year Auckland University Press published Villon in Millerton. His young adult fantasy novel The Assassin of Gleam won the Sir Julius Vogel Award this year. Recent work has appeared in The Greensboro Review, Alimentum, Nimrod, The Cincinnati Review, Poetry International, Harvard Review and The London Magazine. He is poetry editor for Takahe Magazine and poetry editor for the Christchurch Press. (7/2007)


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