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Ian C Smith
Short Story // Fathers, Sons

époque press
pronounced: /epƏk/
definition: /time/era/period

Weekend wrestler, Father pretends down there on the carpet.  Straddling his chest, hard rubber saddle of sinew, I kneel on those dangerous biceps.  He laughs.  Mother rattles the kitchen seeking a path to the man’s heart on which I squirm.  Up close, mirrored in the same blue eyes, a startling intimacy, I see perfect miniatures of myself, start to explain, voice rising.  But he tricks me again, springs clear from where we play, skin against skin, victory a breath away.


High on hope, I hold my breath.  Below, my boys, manhood addicts, yell; Dad, we give up.  You win.  Mum’s made lunch.  Poised to plunge into their gang, a stunt, to drop from filtered sunbeams, a bold paladin’s surprise ending after eluding their long search, a chevalier for once in their eyes, I am just feet above them, a breath away, balanced on my perch.


From beneath the bough they shoot off into shadow, sudden, our stout melaleuca’s papery trunk shielding me, riveted in time.  I planned a gymnast’s landing, a soft thunk startling them, but their white light moved on before I knew, transient kin, soon gone, that long-legged crew.


                       DNA’s heirloom

                       rambunctious conveyed ethos

                       riding wild years’ winds


Ian C Smith’s work has been published in Antipodes, BBC Radio 4 Sounds, cordite, The Dalhousie Review, Griffith Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southword, & The Stony Thursday Book.  His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide).  He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island.


Of the motivation behind this piece, Ian says:


‘I've long been interested in genealogy - I have four or five titles with variations of this word - and I see this as homo sapiens' germination, my own relationships with my parents, and my children motivating me to write.  I even see the haibun form as appropriate, the haiku like a seed.’

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