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Wake in Fright | Caitlin Maling

The roo, stewed,

is outcome of shotgun,

the messy tear of skin.

The goat will break teeth

if not carefully cut

and held in the slow cooker

longer, so the metal falls

deeper into the pot. Two shot

between here and Jurien,

one almost kid-sized—


Coming home, the slab

of red in glad-wrap

on the bench is just flesh,


This is something

I should learn,

the full process.

Filling the chamber, the shot,

how to angle the body

so the blood spills neatly.

All the old farm boys

know, teach their sons.

I could be one

with a gun. Just

cock the handle

and be ready to take

the recoil, the bruise

on the collarbone,

the misfire, the graze

from dropping knees to ground.

The corpse, too heavy

to lift, winched against sky.

Caitlin Maling is a WA poet who has published two books of poetry. A third, Fish Song, is due February 2019.

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