Clint Malvern

The school yard’s dense with bodies
BUT I CAN’T HEAR A THING. No need to
shout, a corona’s hanging around her
head. The silence of summer. Here we
go, across the iron bridge and onto
the sports oval. Grass whistle. I’m
still asleep. Memory tastes of Vita
Brits. Something snaps in my ear as†

the fog on Mt Nebo clears. Pressure.
Younger morning. Raindrop fans on a
jacaranda. Oil rainbows on the road.
Then I get my best thinking done. So
Figtree wakes up. I see it every day.
Watch the streets change shape, grow.
Trajectories of wet newspapers still
visible to me, in the air. Energy of

a little volcano, the one that feeds
the sky with its extinct knob. Nebo.
O’Briens Road like a trail of ants
up its side. There’s the water tank
and the barbed wire fence. Its sign.
The long strip of black tar leads to
the high school far below, base camp.
I rode down it once, without brakes,

into American Creek. It’s flooding.
This is the best, so untold. By this
afternoon, I bet O’Briens Road will
be under water. Mum tells me to shut
up. She doesn’t know. Does anybody?
Try lighting a fire in a flood. Try
what I tried. Curled up in a little
ball, powerless to resist. Try this.

Call me Clint. Yes, I’m the eldest.
Not so easy to pick, at first glance.
Hairdressers are a nightmare, so this
summer I’m growing my hair long. Yep.
As long as Melissa’s. Meeting up with
her, after tennis but maybe it’s been
cancelled. Underwater by now, I’d say.
A ripple on the sports oval. The bell.

It’s okay. Happens all the time. Well,
you’d be surprised. I don’t work out
at all. Why I never make the team. No,
really, it’s okay. I’m used to it by
now. It doesn’t seem to make much of
a difference to them. Never has. We’re
a family. Wonder where we’ll go this
summer. Dad’s got the map out already.

There’s the bell. I’d better run. Got
to clear out the locker and transfer
it all to mum’s car. Easier that way.
One period. Assembly. Lunch. Then two
periods in the afternoon. Surely they
can’t expect us to do much, on a day
like this. Mel’s distracted. I see it
in the way she sits there, thinking of

our big assembly today. Sure. Bye now.
Don’t let me keep you waiting. Fog’s
nearly gone. Maybe it won’t be so bad.
Disappointing really. I’d have liked
it to flood on my last day at school.
Watch the pens and pencils flushed out
of the classrooms, across the sports
oval, into the churn of American Creek.

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