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The theological lemming

  • 18 February 2014














The theological lemming

He only has faithin waves. They are the whatin what he doesn't know.

What he knows has left himon the edge of a cliffand whispered, Push yourself.

Waves crash. Waveswaver. Waves waverthen crash. Waves arethe is in what isthe substance of what

he hopes for. Their uncertaincertainty gives him faiththat he's only waveringor at least the moonstill calls for the ocean.

He turns backthrough falling friendsto the river, stillthen stiller, his reflection,at last, beyond himself.


Country dad, city son

I know you're out thereendless rolling hills and valleysperpetually out there callingwending your topographygeographying my memory

but I have to tell youmy toddler stands beside the highwayand delights in trucks and cars.

I watch metallic tennisdizzychoke on chain smoke

but he counts and names and colours trafficas if it were what it's not:

the most natural thing in the world.



How did I get here? said the p_____ to the p_____, announcing her disorientation with joy and longing. The p_____ took two steps back and forward and held up a leather book, the title of which the p_____ couldn't see. Thank you, she said, and the p_____ agreed it is right to give thanks and praise for what we do not know. They took turns to shake hands and nod heads, the ocean behind them mimicking; a slip here, a slide there and one would be gone or the other the other. There was sand beneath them, but where the p_____ and p_____ stood, well, that's a question more puzzling The p_____ knew the p____ expected her to have answers, as surely as the p_____ expected the p____ to have questions. But neither could bring herself to announce what she knew of the other. What was the use of meeting? they mused, once they'd gone their separate ways (sic) and back to their separate callings, calling over their shoulders as they left: p_____! p_____! Who's that, over there, rhyming those fish?



In winter swimming pool change roomsfather helps his son with soft wordswhispers towel the boy's white bumdries flat chest shoulders endlessquestions football God video gamespeacefully unfolds his son'sdry clothes cherishes boy'sdrenched beauty understands everystrand of showered hair jean pullover damp flesh wrap arm in armwindcheater jacket ties his son'sshoes holds his hand they leavebreathing each others breath

Paul Mitchell is a Melbourne writer of journalism, poetry and fiction.

Waves image from Shutterstock