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Marine Demonologist

Washed up here they had, in a sharkskin suit
and flippers. Pants open like a devil in a wheel-
barrow. It felt rough that day, the weather: hat
blown off, heels broke in the wind

   I mean staggering down the path holding onto
the railing and a fishbowl and a newspaper, no
wonder, but I got home with my pearls intact
and a crick in my back from the fall

   Oh no, I hadn’t been to Mass since I last
played football and prayed for the Demons to
lose and to kill two, you know, some new shoes
   They were rose-coloured and too high

   Dutch ancestors, Spanish ancestors, think that
fight got settled in the family blood fathoms, I
mean eons ago. We inherited a fish-scales shirt
it doesn’t smell; we rented it to Byron

once. Dad wanted to be buried in it: we nodded
   The war against the fishes continues, the rod
never spared, or the sea’d be spoiled they reck
   I’ve spent a day or two on deck, don’t

worry, but prefer trouncing the bikini-attired in
the kelp skirt I want to be married in. Nod. Thin
gloves, lemon scarf, sheet of corrugated iron as
a kind of shield. Jazz band from New

Utrecht or New Madrid soccer team. The man
for me hates the ocean, he spewed it on the sand
   Coral headband, prawn shell earrings. Head
like an oyster, where do I get my psych-

ology from? The mountains, the hills, the snowy
peaks. The wombat-clad invaders, with toey
ideas and beaked capes. Came down a thousand
metres, not a fashion editor among us

really. I saw them first: slipped the diamond
ring on their finger while they were still
technically dead. Ambos tried to grease it off
for the bill the thieving darlings

   Worse than firies. Worse than milkos, if you
remember them, they would walk off in your
spare thongs if they weren’t tied down, and
all for a gallon of processed custard

   They were not the marrying kind. In summer
they wore clover and a large bit of bark to work
   We hadn’t enough salt in our diet, the clever
anthropologists and other specialists

said. We didn’t know to come down to the coast
once a year for molluscs. We believed the priest
who said the sea was hell’s bathwater, and that
our horn buds and bat tail were cute

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