Academic journal article Antipodes

A Man and His Dog

Academic journal article Antipodes

A Man and His Dog

Article excerpt

When he told the blokes at the pub he was moving his family

lock, stock and dog - to the city, they clapped his back,

shouted him another beer, and told him for nothing he'd be mad

to take that big old dog to the city after all the trouble it had caused.

Take it to the scrub, they said. Shoot it. Won't feel a thing.

He looked out the window to the brutal blue of the bay

and the sketch of lawn above the sand, where his two youngest

were chasing seagulls. He watched as the older boy stopped,

not for the first time, to suck air into the tight drum of his chest,

then flop on the grass beside the dog. He remembered how

he'd brought the dog home on the flat of his hand, and now

here it was a hand or two short of a Shetland, and Peter Pan

would lose more than his shadow if he ventured near just now.

He thought of the day the wharfies had gone on strike

and he'd pulled in the gate just as a passing rabbit-oh,

carrying a gun and staring down the muzzle of a loaded dog,

was shoving bullets into both barrels. …

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