Black Coffin with Milk

Take the measure of wooden speech with a wooden tongue
The sound waves crash in, like a handful of grasshoppers
Take the nails and bang them into the weeping painting
The kids are shouting what they’re for: it’s making noise
Making noise and drinking milk with a magnifying glass

The ancestor’s dead from reading books and breathing
From boxing vegetables and reading books and breathing
The cardboard boxes are in his brain in tiny mirroring bits
From the vein in his forehead to the vein in his toe they run
They run like children to the school milk and the myths

Out of the crush they would say of him, mad as a string
The trees would say different of course when they saw him
Out of grace, they never were, they would mimic Umback
The leaves in his hair were the marks of a bush comedy
A bush comedy so good it could run forever without seats

The little version of the novel, every novel he read at night
That he played out with his bosses, with strangers, his wife
The wife has another ancestor with the same name, related
That the lightning spilled down the hill in hot liquid form
A form that was repeated and parodied in the hill’s plants

Take this string and wrap it round the painting as if alive
As if alive and attempting to survive out there in the bush
Take the clock and time the boy who went to get the milk
As if you can get milk from a large white rabbit that makes
The sound of death, chewing grasshoppers like a machine