September 2023

Back to Issue 14

Good Grief

By Sean West

pelican watercolour at Wynnum Foreshore, 1981  for Dad


I sit on cyan timber slats 

at your feet, start a poem for you.


Years from now, you’ll let your art go 

but here: you’re still sketching 


in art college, painting a watercolour.

A pelican on a telegraph pole


bristles its feathers to a gust

as you gently flourish the coastline


with brushstrokes, curl a hushed breeze 

through marram grass.


I hear a thick glob splatter      

down your back. Good grief, the reek 


of digested fish guts my nostrils. I can’t help 

but laugh as you peel off


your shirt, pack your supplies,

drive us home. Sitting beside you, bare feet


on the dash, I go to give you my shirt

and forget this is a poem.