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Hot Desk Extract: We Should Kill It

Read Tuesday, 13 Dec 2016

As part of the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowship programme, Melody Paloma has been working on a collection of poems called Sinkhole poems, exploring place and space in Australia. ‘We Should Kill It’ is one poem from the collection.

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We Should Kill It

See how the edge is heavy with them. Different forms. Some bloated. Or only bones. None moving. All arriving in unusual ways. That one up there, out at the last minute and toward the driver’s door. Takes something decorative with it. Breaks the neck. And over here, laid out on the bonnet of a sedan. Splinters from the inside first.

Yes, but look! Our one hits the centre, goes under. Imagine the engine moving over. Scalp burning there. Or maybe on the road.

Yes, and no blood.

And nothing looks disconnected.

Yes, only in the way it moves.

Up and then almost twisting. Back to the ground. The way an old drunk might.

We were hit once. Laid out on tar. Carried off in a neck-brace. Dad raising his fists at the driver.

It doesn’t sound like how I thought. Cat like.

Not really a cat. More of a clicking.

Yes, a cutting in the throat.

If we pick it up will it scratch us?

No, it is too heavy. And where will we put it? We should kill it.

Yes, the pain must be bad. Has it broken its back?

Yes, we should kill it.

How will we kill it?

We will use a branch, or maybe a knife.

But where do we stab it?

No, maybe it’s just concussion. It seems like it just wants to sleep.

OK, we will take it to the vet.

Wrap its head in a towel, so it cannot see.

Which towel?

The beach towel, the one that is dirty with the pink flamingoes.

Yes, now you lift its legs.

I thought it would have more strength, that it would kick against us.

Should we put it where the dog sleeps?

You have to tuck its tail in, bend its head and lean it on the esky. Look, it’s hanging out.

Do you think the dog will smell it later?

It is still breathing.

What if it wakes and attacks us while we drive?

Feel its paws, are they like the dog’s?

It has stopped moving now.

Yes, and breathing, too.

I suppose it is dead.

Where should we put it?

Look, over here.

Yes, by the road.

Find out more about the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowship programme here.

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.