SARAH JANE BARNETT
The girls are young buttonwoods, he decides.
Their mottled trunks will shed their camouflage:
a tan and silvery fuzz of bark
that peels back to expose the skin.
her to the rear of his truck he thinks, I’m fucking sick
of selling cars in Humble.
He’d walked this pipeline for hours as a kid,
see-sawing from foot to foot. Humming.
He knew all the best places
where the trees grew together tightly,
arthritic against the scud. The rottenest of trees
would hollow out, overnight it seemed.
In a woody crevice he’d hidden a tin race car
and a cheap bottle of beer, tied in a bundle with rope.
(At the bowling alley she'd glanced at him
and his son. He’d felt young, like a buck.)
|sorry for||what y'all||had|
|to go||through.||I am so|
|sorry||for what||all of|
|I really||am. I got||to go|
The bundle’s still there in the damp mulch
and rodent shit. The race car’s wheels are frozen up,
the paintwork chipped. Fucking ruined, he thinks and throws
her against the pipe where a small crack
Nothing is working right today.
His son’s trousers are saturated around the zipper
and the wind is raining seeds in spiralling parachutes,
their pubescent shed irritating
his eyes until they swell, weepy and red.
Sarah Jane Barnett is a writer and book reviewer who lives in Wellington. Her work has appeared in a range of literary journals such as Landfall, Sport and Takahe and on the e-zines Cordite, Snorkel and Turbine. Her poem 'The Drop Distance' was selected for Best New Zealand Poems 2007. Sarah is currently completing a creative writing PhD in the field of ecopoetics.
Barnett comments: ‘This poem is part of a series about death row executions in Texas. It is based on the police report of Dowthitt's crime, and the last words of Dennis Dowthitt. The poem tries to reconcile the two different depictions or stories of the crime. The poem was orignially published in Hue & Cry 4: Champion This! – The Biography Issue.’