Craig Moffatt

A burned past

Walking through my old neighbourhood
I arrive at the house I grew up in,

there are two cars in the driveway
the windows of the house are smashed out

by the fire which is erupting inside.
The curtains are burning with such violence

The front door is bricked in.
smoke is bellowing out of the windows

I see my mother trying to escape the flames
her hair is on fire, her skin black and scolded.

My stepfather just standing there with a gun to his head
continually mocking me with taunts and abuse.

The dog has been hung by its neck in the lounge room
with a tag that says “to Craig, I’m Max”

The front yard is full of dead grass
with children’s bones scattered throughout.

My Stepfather points the gun and has me in his sight
fires hatred into my chest.

In the trees are the hanging corpses of my ancestors
swaying from side to side

and spirits are mourning at their feet crying out to a dead god
to save me, to shelter me

from the burning house on a grave of childhood bones.

The house is the only thing left standing
while everything else has turned to rubble,

the streetlights sag

and the bicycles we rode around on
lay rusted and tormented with age

I turn away and I walk forward
through this desolated street

a familiar unchanged geography
of where I am from

once again I am standing
out the front of the house I grew up in.

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