Downsizing by Mardi May

Dad and I are at the local pub for the
Seniors Special Roast of the Day.

I wear a dress and Estee Lauder;
he wears turpentine and there’s a

button left over at the top of his shirt,
a smudge of blue across his brow

that might be a piece of fallen sky.
Today I watched him paint at home.

With three whiskies to ‘steady’ him,
he layered rocks you could climb,

texture weathered by palette knife;
a Namatjira gum stark against the

rich ochre tones of a rugged gorge.
My father paints too with his feet,

treading the fallen dobs of colour
into a Pro Hart canvas on the floor.

Now he paints from photographs,
travels the landscape of his mind,

but I have seen him measure
the land against his thumb;

shrink the vast horizon
to fit his lounge room walls.


Date: 2021

By: Mardi May (19??- )

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