Hammer and nail

In Byron Bay, traces of you remain— your two schools, the laneway cafés, hempwear, prayer flags, clairvoyants. The sun like a bruise on the horizon this late afternoon with the kids in the pub by the beach, it could be you’ve come back to live here and I check each face, the strong sinew of young arms I imagine yours. Why wouldn’t you be young here with the ocean and long haired girls and boys and the Sea Shepherds and life lived in campaign against waste and for diversity? I want to imagine you somewhere in your bare feet, your skin drinking the heat, building something hammer and nail with your principles. It’s such a pretty thing, youth and why not let it flower hibiscus-like in the sub-tropics of ethical sustainable living? My own youth was grimy and aimless built as it was on parties aflame in the night or the blue-light disco at the scout hall and secreted bottles of cinzano, a drunken pash and grope with a girl. What a world, spinning madly through space and full of so much experience; mine here with my beautiful kids and you, my eldest, still missing – a fucking great hole in my heart I’ve no way of closing; yours, somewhere — here, I hope, wearing tie-dye, drinking chai with like-minds or standing on the rocks out at Tallows watching the whales gambol, maybe thinking it’s time to meet your little brother, play with your sisters again, see your dad who hopes you grow wild like the grasses and clean like the rain.

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