Saturday, August 13, 2011


Whitebait, those tiniest sliver
of silver words, swim into
my mind from dark nights
when Mother would feed
the surprise guest brought home
by Father with one too many
drinks in him. Many times
they would mumble apologies
while mother speared a tin
of King Sound whitebait
and started toast cooking.
Father brought home men
who had caught his ear
at the yacht club or the
Naval & Military Club:
an American film actor,
a CSIRO scientist, a touring
Italian pianist, a war hero
with tin legs. Mother would
heat whitebait slowly in
a cream sauce, and when
the toast popped-up (we had
a modern kitchen), she would
say, Sit down, sit down,
and all the whitebaits’ eyes
would look-up at
my father and his guest
swaying like sailors
just come ashore.

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