Academic journal article Antipodes

Hammerhead

Academic journal article Antipodes

Hammerhead

Article excerpt

I ask my mother, divorced from my father

for forty-five years, if she remembers his

coming home late one night with a story

of horror and bemusement. He'd been

fishing with a long cane rod, surf-casting

into the waters off the white-sand shores

north of Perth, and hooked "something strange."

I was three or four but recall a conversation

in whispers, a kind of pact that would be held

or forgotten, a secret in an isolated city

that had nowhere to go, that meant

nothing much. I heard the word

"hammerhead" and remember it still.

Mum says she doesn't recall; then she

mails back to say she does, "He caught

something about three-foot long, something

odd." Yes, a hammerhead shark, with eyes

swiveling on its . . . claw hammer, ball-peen

hammer, tack hammer, sledgehammer

head-all of these hammers hanging

in the shed, in my father's great workshop

where trucks would go over the pit,

where tools were aids to living. …

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