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Homelessness Project

Bargrearse

By | The City

By Grant Palmer

My name is Bargearse,
Death made me homeless,
My head is full of shit.

Every night for 17 years,
Dreaming of shit,
The shit of death.

A shitty tropical town and angry Jesus,
The shit that comes from BBQ’d children who
prayed,
Splattered brains leaving me deep in the shit.

Jesus who wanted to kill me,
Was he the Jesus of the BBQ’d kids,
The family on the moped now know if Jesus is
real.

Miranda wouldn’t listen,
Two others tried but couldn’t,
But none of them understood my shit.

Alone was best,
Drinking and smoking away my shit,
Angrier and more isolated each night.

A Graduate Of Duntroon
Shelldrake,
A Superintendent in the mines.

“Dont run you’ll panic the troops”,
Not any more,
There was nowhere to run.

$5 a clean skin, $15 a night,
Smokes at $20 a pack,
Killing myself slowly on $35 a day.

Driving my car over a cliff,
Just like the road to Alieu,
How fast does my Prado go?

Ashamed of being a GOD,
Shelldrake long gone,
Superintendent no longer.

I had my shit though
There every night,
Death would be welcome.

Finally it snaps,
GP didn’t get it,
I was lucky someone else did.

Sent down to the nut farm
“You’ve got PTSD,”
Says the nut farmer named Pete.

“No shit” my response,
Thanks Jesus,
And I no longer have a home

My big sister packs up,
Red letters and phone calls each day,
$300 a fortnight means I cant pay.

My home now the nut farm,
Confined with the door left wide open,
Just in case of self harm.

Inedible food,
It’s full of crazy people
Just like me, all dealing with our shit.

The nut farm’s my home,
Confused,
Angry.

I knew what to do when confronted with death,
BBQ’d bodies, angry Jesus,
Brain splattered rock.

Homeless and powerless.
I don’t know what to do,
The Nut Farm social worker knows jack shit.

Homeless people are a States problem,
The Commonwealth sent me to war,
DVA does nothing except offer to pay part of
the rent.

If you can get somewhere to rent,
$300 a fortnight,
Fuck all chance of that.

Couch surfing at a friends place,
She couldn’t handle my shit,
So she threw me out.

The RSL, $350 million in the bank,
A nursing home in Sydney,
Is the best they can do.

It was something I know,
Whilst Don paid his mortgage with that cash,
So fuck homeless veterans

State Government forms
I can’t do words any more,
So how do I fill in those forms

It is a five year wait,
Maybe you can try to get private rental,
Yep! On $300 a week?

But you can help fund the Supercars,
Take envelopes from developers,
And pretend to run a mine.

Vets before refugees
I was homeless before refugees hit the
headlines,
Where were you then?

You ignore us just like we don’t exist,
Yes, I am angry,
With a head full of death and shit.

Protection

By | The Bay

By Dael Allison

A team, that’s what you are part of. A she-team. You repeat those words under your breath like a mantra as you stare at the notes in front of you, the report you will soon present.
    The dot points blur.
    You can do this. Show these women you can cope. Prove to them that this is where you need to be. Working in this team, protecting other women, ensuring they don’t have to live on the streets, that they have a safety net against physical, emotional, potential and real violence. So many vulnerable women. And children. Children who think instability and danger is something they and their mums just have to put up with. Kids need to be safe. They should have a future.
    Your throat tightens. You glance around the long table. No one meets your eye. Three women at the far end talk quietly together, others riffle through the agenda papers, some simply sit, preoccupied. Everyone waiting for Hanny to arrive so the meeting can start. Hanny, still in her office, talking with the police.
    You want this over and done with. To have said your piece, shown what you have learned, proven you can step up. But doubts press in. Nothing at uni – work placements, case studies, role plays, reams of reading – none of it prepared you for what you have experienced in these three months of internship. Women young, old and in-between, alone or coping with bruised babies, frantic toddlers, angry primary-schoolers, sullen teenagers. They come with depression, resentment, fear. They come damaged, undone by violence, betrayal, poverty, mental illness, lost jobs, failed mortgages – their possessions jammed into a car or stashed with sympathetic friends or stuffed into carry bags. Despite all this, some can still breeze in and make your day seem wonderful. Women who drop by to show you an op-shop treasure, an ugly glass butter-dish like one their mother had, a pair of leather baby shoes. Who might bring you a gift, a little pot plant, a Coles muffin. Essie re-appeared last Monday with a dozen books squeezed into the top of her battered shopping trolley. ‘Two dollars the lot,’ she’d gloated, pulling out Jung, Doris Lessing, a volume of poems by Neruda. ‘Stick this up on your bookshelf. Like an affirmation,’ she’d said, handing you a dog-eared copy of Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children.’ She added, ‘The title’s ironic of course’.
    Essie intrigues you. She is hard to place in emergency accommodation because she fears tight spaces, and most refuge houses are old, with narrow hallways. When everything is full, or there’s no room she’ll accept, she’ll say, ‘Another train adventure!’ and sail out the door waving away your apologies. You worry about her on the station late at night. You worry about her on the train. She’ll catch the last one to Sydney, sleep on it and return to Newcastle in the morning. She is well educated, invariably cheerful, but she has lived on the streets for years and you often wonder how she manages, sleeping on trains, in parks, to keep herself looking tidy. Once she asked if she could borrow some tweezers – you’d noticed straggling grey hairs under her chin. ‘The bathroom’s good here, it has a bright mirror,’ she’d said, though you knew the appeal was the room’s spaciousness, and it opened off a broad corridor.
    Grace, too, struggling on her allowance but always beautifully presented.
    Don’t think about Grace.
    You let your mind follow a loud rumble, something big passing in the regular grind of traffic beyond the building’s stout brick walls. A bus perhaps. Outside will be people walking beneath the newly budding street trees, getting on with their lives. Outside will be a normal, busy, noisy city day. Here, inside, nothing feels normal.
    Grace. The burst of colour whenever she appeared in the office. The shiny fabric of her clothes, the scarves she twisted around her head so flamboyant people often missed the scars that corrugated one side of her face. Fading machete scars. Yesterday she sat vividly beside you and gently rocked the stroller where Happiness peacefully slept. Beautiful Happiness, with her rounded breast-fed cheeks and lips, her liquid brown eyes, the tiny knots of rusty curls that covered her head. Grace, at forty, hadn’t wanted a child. Hadn’t wanted attention from any man. The name she chose for her daughter spoke volumes. You’d found it hard to pull your eyes away from Happiness in the stroller, her satiny brown limbs beneath the frilly pink nylon dress. Until Grace showed you a creased photograph. Sent to her by an aunt, back in Sudan. A village of round buildings topped by conical thatched roofs. Bare earth, a few twisted trees, brown and white goats, a scatter of chickens. In the foreground, a clutch of village children jostle to be centre of the picture. Torn clothes, skinny limbs, beaming smiles. Tears seeped down Grace’s furrowed cheek as she named three of them. Her three killed children.

Acid wells in your throat. You drag your eyes back to your presentation notes. ‘Nothing formal,’ Hanny had said, when she suggested you put something together. ‘An overview of what you’ve learnt so far, how you are travelling in the job. A chance for us to give feedback, help if you need it.’ You’d worked on it every night for a week, exhausted after long days of counselling and absorbing story after sad, disastrous story, determined to show you love this job and want to keep it, that you can broaden your role.
    Hanny rushes in apologizing profusely. She plonks beside you in the one spare chair, announcing, ‘The agenda can keep until later, and I’ll update you then on the meeting I just had. It’s been a hard morning for us all, particularly for Jaz as I’m sure you all know, so I think it’s best she gets this over with, don’t you?
    There is muttering agreement, smattered applause. Hanny turns to meet your eyes. You nod.
    The women here daunted you at first. They all seemed so in-the-know, capable, clear of purpose. Some daunt you still, but they have accepted you into their team. They feel like talismans. An image of dingoes flickers in your mind – the golden she-dingoes you often saw in your research year with desert communities, west of Tennant Creek. These women are like that, a pack with similar connections of responsibility and support. Similar tensions, loyalties, tolerance, willingness to share their wisdom. They have the same fierceness. Fighters, all of them, protective of their own but tolerating no bullshit. In this pack of experience you are an adolescent pup. Will they find you wanting?
    Yesterday Grace quietly told you that the bare, brick-walled room where she and Happiness stayed was isolating. That she feared she could never adjust to life without a village.
    Yesterday Grace nodded when you suggested she and Happiness get outside more. Take advantage of the spring warmth, sea air, fabulous views and explore some of Newcastle’s coastal walks.
    Yesterday, instead of taking the usual bus home to the refuge, Grace pushed her daughter in her stroller over four kilometres, all the way up to Strzelecki Lookout. She climbed through the barrier fence with Happiness in her arms, walked to the edge of the cliff, and fell.
     ‘Go on, Jaz, you’ll be fine,’ Hanny says softly beside you. Blinking back tears you pick up your notes, stare at the dot points. A bland list of demonstrable learning. Around you is your pack, women who want you to succeed. Are you here to tell them what they already know? Here for the pat on the head?
    In your gut unease turns to fierceness. You crumple the notes in your hands. Stand up to speak.

World War 2, Germany

By | The Bay

by ???

I first met my father when I was 7 years old. He was a prisoner of war and he’d been released to come home.
    Before he came home there was only my mum, my sister and me. It was during World War 2 in Germany. My mum would often go away for days at a time to barter for food. We didn’t have much to eat, sometimes only potato skins to make soup. There was not real school because everything was bombed; we learnt what mum taught us. We would have to stay with neighbours and if the air raid sirens went off we would all have to run. One time they went off and I couldn’t find my sister. I made it to the shelter and when I came home I found my sister hiding under the sink.
    When my dad came home, everything changed. I didn’t like this strange, stern man that would look at me with his mean eyes. It always seemed like I did everything wrong.
    My mother would often stay in her room for days at a time and I remember my father telling me not to upset mum. We didn’t know it then but she had bi-polar and would later go on to take her own life.
    When the war was finished, eventually we were able to go to school and I liked school. I didn’t have to be home and sit in a quite house under the disappointing gaze of my father.

Homeless

By | The Bay

By Grant Palmer

I’m Mum, my kids Jack and Jill
I fixed up mangled bodies
Soldiers, women and kids.

Now I am fucked in the head
With nightmares each night
Mangled kids that look like my own.

And I left them with their father
When I left to serve
In Screwedupistan against the Taliban.

Their father left when I came home
He couldn’t handle my shit
I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t touch his dick.

The money from Screwedupistan
Paid off his debts so he’s no longer bankrupt
Won’t take the kids, he fucks another woman.

Society isn’t ready for me
A female veteran
All screwed up.

“You cannot wear your father’s medals
On the left hand side”
In the RSL they say.

“Fuck off their mine”
I angrily retort
Burning tears like acid pissing from my eyes.

I cannot work that is all to hard
Who wants a broken women
Tearing up as she cleans the room.

A final repossession notice, screaming red
Is in the mail today
I can’t get a rental and I cannot feed the kids.

I went to DVA starting 18 months ago
Paperwork with legislation I don’t understand
“three months to work out that you served.”

Sclerotic bureaucratic impenetrable
Are you sure you cannot work?
Aged Care Nursing perhaps?

“A nurse” you say “near dying people”
I’m not sure that’s a good idea
I have had enough of that.

The only Pysch available doesn’t take DVA
$250 a session Medicare pays $130
I need that TPI you pricks.

I need help to feed my kids
Try the Salvos they say
A leaner not a lifter.

Looking through wanted ads, anything
Escort and brothel jobs
Melbourne CBD immediate start.

I ring the number mentioned
“Can you do an interview?
You’ll need to strip down naked”

I decide I need to go
“To old” at 30
Says the mutton dressed as lamb.

Fuck her I decide to go alone
I call up some of the others
To learn what I have to do.

I buy a new phone
Cheap lingerie from Kmart
Place an ad.

Text preferred
Incalls prior arrangement
Outcalls hotels only.

Fuck and a blow job
$300 an hour cash
No judgement in return.

I have never done fucking for money
Fucking meant something once
Scared and confused I need to feed the kids.

He sends me a txt, a hotel room at $120 a day
The Pysch’s session Medicare gap $120
Yippee $60 for me.

I hope he is clean
I hope he isn’t fat
What if he wants bum sex?

Do I ask for the cash up front?
Does he just hand it over?
Don’t negotiate a price at all!

The hotel room
Clean but showing its age
Just like me.

Cheap black lingerie brazilian neatly trimmed
Porn silent on TV condoms by the bed
A part time Juliet for Romeo

Fuck you Taliban
Fuck you my ex
Fuck you DVA.

The knock on the door
Ready to be fucked
To feed and house my kids.

Annette

By | The Bay
By ????
I lived with Mum and my little sister for the first part of my life. Dad was in jail and we were waiting for him to get out.
    Mum had a house where my sister and me had a room each but it belonged to a man and he kicked us out.
    We would stay at lots of different places with lots of different peopled and mum would work all night. In the mornings I would
have to yell at Mum right up close to her ear because she always had her eyes shut and looked like she was asleep sitting up.
    We stayed with a couple once and they had a little girl. The lady made us dinner -vegetable soup and sausages with mashed potato
and vegetables - it was so yummy. We would have dinner, a shower and get to watch TV then go to bed while Mum was at work. It was 
really good.
    But Mum took off and didn’t come home for a few days so we had to leave. They were nice people.
    We moved next door and the man was mean. I never went to school and I would look after my little sister.
    Dad never did get out of jail and Mum ended up going to jail. I never saw my sister again because we got split up when Mum went to jail.

A Sparrow at the Carwash by Kaspar Paseko

By | The Lake

By Kaspar Paseko

On the way to the laundromat I stop at the carwash. It had been one of those arguments that isn’t about what it’s about. I’d driven overnight out West and gone down some dirt tracks after the rain. There was nothing worth arguing about any more but now the car was covered in congealed eucalypt sap and mud. We get a discount at this carwash because my wife taught one of the sons English.
    I sit in an old green velour armchair with my complimentary coffee. The mother opens the fridge door to cool herself between making coffee-while-you-wait and counting cash. The father with his brother spray high pressure hoses and shout over to his son to vacuum the next car in line. The boy must be wishing he was somewhere else. I remember doing jobs like that, shunting one unit from here to there in the same routine – junk mail, flowers, phone calls, planks, pizzas. I never much liked work. A sparrow dips and flutters in a puddle.

Waking up with the sunrise, pulling the sleeping bag around my ears and the beanie over my eyes, shifting a bit to ease the stiff joints and sore flesh from the cold concrete. There’s no ignoring it though. Security will be by soon enough. Sitting up and wriggling over to where the sun falls through the glassless window. Cold nights make us sun worshippers. And here is my friend the sparrow. Sparrow in the blue dawn light. A memory perching and gone again. There I am, a kid sitting on a bench in the city with nothing to do so I throw a bit of crust from my lunch to bring the bird a bit closer and a young woman walks by and says, “Look at all the friends he has.” and laughs with her friend. I didn’t mind so much but what I couldn’t understand was why anyone would even want to be like that. Still don’t. Don’t know why people care or don’t care. Why they can’t just leave each other be. Leave everything alone.
    There are two kinds of roofs where nobody lives. Abandoned buildings and buildings under construction. The derelict buildings tend to have more people, more fucked up people. Construction sites are lonelier and cleaner but you have to get out early because of security. Not a bad view from this one. All the way across town, little roof after little roof, all the way into the middle where they pile themselves one up on top each other. Soon they’ll fill the roads to go to work to pay for their roofs. Fools would pay a lot for this view. Everyone calls their weakness virtue.
    Always were a lot of sparrows at school. Always pecking at crumbs. The teacher said their Latin name was Passer Domesticus. I always used to scab cake off Scott. I was always envious of people who had food. But, to be fair, it’s not like I went hungry. Like Dad said, I can’t have been too hungry if I wouldn’t eat a vegemite sandwich, so why should he waste time making them? I had it better than Elroy. His had to get his own Weetbix for dinner. John’s mother was good. Anytime anyone came round she gave them a t-bone steak and huge helpings of three veg, even though she had was always doing shifts. She always let us hang out downstairs, no questions asked, especially if anyone had something go wrong. The cops or at home, or some toy gangster hassling you, or you just psyche out, whatever, you knew you could go there. Elroy’s mum let you do what you wanted because she didn’t give a damn about anything except leaning over a bucket of steaming water with a towel over her head. No-one could figure out why. Elroy said she said it was her sinuses. And his Dad was never there because he was always doing double shifts in the taxi to pay for his wife.
    “Behave or the social workers’ll get ya.” he’d say. He was always worried the do-gooders would take his kid. “I’ll send you to boarding school!” he’d say, and I’d stand still in my crisp new clothes while he checked the part in my wet hair was straight. One day they asked me. Called me up to the office at school. Asked me if he did anything like that. It took a while but I figured out what they were insinuating and looked at the table, hating them for saying such things about my father. Never laid a finger on me. Never touched me. No one could ever say he ever. It was other people, people I never told anyone about, not even Dad because he couldn’t handle it. He would have murdered them. Or more likely he would have paced around all night trying not to murder anyone, because then he’d be in jail and who’d look after us? Nothing serious though. Nothing too bad ever happened to me. Just a little. Just like, at the train station, that guy miming a blow job at me, with a raise of the eyebrow. Or standing in the crowd at night watching the busker and there’s this guy standing too close behind grazing my arse with his cock. That sort of thing. Just little things. Plenty worse things happen.
    “The judge is a professional.” He said, “Don’t believe me. Don’t believe your mother. Why would the judge give me custody when the woman always gets custody?” She always said he was the best liar she ever knew. No one ever said what she was supposed to have done. It was before I can remember.
    I only ever saw him touch someone once. Waiting for the ferry at night. She’d come down to argue. He is a liar. She is a liar. The same shit they always say. I gave up on truth a long time ago but I’ve always known that the more they hated each other the more it meant they love me. Neither of them can bear to live without me. Neither can bear to leave me with someone they hate. Going through our bags he realised she’d stolen our passports. I waited by the bags for someone to come back listening to three tall young American tourists. “Did you see that?” “Asshole.” “When he comes back, let’s teach him a lesson.”
    In our room at the YMCA I finished another story and went to the window and looked down at the flat grey roof of the next building and the brown brick walls. Looking to the right, far down in the street, I noticed there was a pizza shop. There was a story in the newspaper where some mothers of some kids who’d died of a drug overdose banded together and caught the dealer. One of the mothers worked in a pizza shop so they put the dealer in the pizza oven and cooked him to death. It could be that same pizza shop down there. I left the room and wound my way around the corridors to the toilet. Making my way to the end of the urinal I glanced at the cubicles and there, with the door wide open, was an old man sitting on the toilet jerking off. I only caught a glimpse because I looked away straight away. I was confused for a moment. Did I really see that? Why didn’t he close the door? Is he going to get me? With people around? He didn’t look menacing at all, just very sad, miserable, more miserable than anyone, so miserable he didn’t care anymore how miserable it was. I needed to piss and didn’t know where there was another toilet, so I stepped back to a point at the urinal where he couldn’t see me and pissed, hoping he wouldn’t come out.
    Back in our room I went to the window and looked out again. A warm breeze on my face. I read in the library that people who try to commit suicide by jumping off skyscrapers are often saved by a strong updraft, strong enough to sweep the weight of a human body up and onto a ledge. It made it sound as if it was a good thing they were saved, but if their life was so bad they wanted to die, wasn’t it cruel to make them live it? Wouldn’t they feel ashamed that they had failed even at this last thing they ever wanted to do? That would be about the most embarrassing thing that could happen to somebody who already felt that bad about themselves. I could picture a suicide, saved in this way, thanking God for the miracle of lifting them onto that overhanging ledge and giving them a second chance. But then it seemed more like God was laughing at them. What about those who jumped again? To have to think over that final decision all over again. And to decide again without a doubt. Or is it worse that if most people didn’t jump the second time, that meant most people who killed themselves made a mistake. I looked down at the concrete. Imagine it. You make up your mind. You take that step. Falling, you swallow your breath, there’s a long few moments, enough time to realise what you had done before you hit the ground. And in that last moment – a mistake. What would that thought be in that one brief last moment, with no more thoughts to come, the thought that all your life amounted to, that you could not say to anyone?
    I tore a page out of my notebook, made a paper aeroplane and threw it. The updraft was good, lifting it higher and over onto the grey roof opposite. I tore out more pages and carefully ripped them around the edges to make spirals, like a Minties wrapper, and weighted the middle bit by scrunching it into a small ball and putting spit on it, dropping them out the window and watching them float up and back out of sight over the top of the building. One failed suicide after another flying up over the roof.
    Here I am, free. No one to care for. No one to care for me. Free from any friend who might have concern for me. Worth nothing. Free. Free to live or die without troubling anybody at all. You can sit and see a man fat, in a suit, bragging on his phone, hated by everyone and then another person, they might be happy or sad, but you can see that wherever they go, they are loved at a glance. Sometimes sitting here, I look at faces and fall in love with each and every one, like I can see past everything at who they are. Every single one is a weed growing through a crack in the concrete. They might only flower for a day and die, but they grow anyway. They walk here on earth, one footstep falls in front of me, and they are gone again. Other times, to be honest, I hate them all. The world would be better off if we all were dead and the sparrows had dominion over the earth. There would be no one to be miserable, and nothing and no one to make them miserable. All our cares amount to nothing and no-one will remember what I worried about today. It doesn’t matter if we worry or not. No-one notices for long that once someone sat here with a bowl, who no longer sees the sun and who the sun no longer sees. The sparrows go here and there. It doesn’t matter if concrete is cold and porridge is warm. Either way, another day may as well come. Other times, it’s just an endless stream of empty automatons. Mostly it is that. You can grab them, hold still their mechanisms long enough to rap your knuckle on their head and chest. Hollow. All these streets and buildings full of empty people.
    Then there was that time with the blood on the lip. That was probably when I was most scared, though I wasn’t really a kid anymore then. It was raining and everyone was looking for somewhere dry. This guy offered a chug from a bottle of port and you have to be polite or they might get angry, and he explained he’d been in for murder and ended up breaking a bottle and cut his hand as he did it. Out of nowhere he made as if to cut my throat. I flinched into his other arm and he had me in a headlock. “You’ve got beautiful lips.” he said and wiped blood on my mouth. Then he let me go. “I’ve got to go now.” I said and walked out. Before then I thought nothing would happen to me because I wouldn’t give anyone any reason. Some people don’t need a reason. Anyway, worse happens to other people. For someone else that might have just been the start of it. I can’t complain. The hardest thing is, if you don’t have money, walking past all the baklava in a bakery window. No, let’s be honest. What’s worst is knowing no one will ever touch you. Not a hand. Not a kiss. What woman wants a man with no prospects? No prospects at all. Can’t bring himself to give a flying fuck about prospects. They sent me to work in telemarketing once. Like they thought that would teach me the value of a dollar and the pride of a job well done. Fair enough someone has to wash dishes and chop tomatoes but I was never any good at it. Weak. Careful. Thinking of other things. Do it faster, doesn’t have to be perfect. No good at anything. Waste of everyone’s time. Anyway, the only reason all these suckers fill the roads on the way to work is because they’re terrified of not having a roof over their head, while the boss gets rich. My father taught me how to live with nothing. So I’m not afraid of losing anything. Free. Everyone calls their weakness virtue.
    The hills were low and undulating like an ocean with the wind rippling through the tall stalks of young green wheat. There hadn’t been any towns or even a house for hours, just the two lane road cutting through the endless fields. I couldn’t remember at what point it had started being just green fields and nothing else, and it showed no sign of having an end. The sun was getting low and there was something by the road up ahead, an old wooden shack. We pulled over. He went in first to check no-one was already there. I followed close, trying to tread quietly on the creaking boards, listening. Half the roof had fallen in, and half the floorboards were broken. We set up a small cooking fire inside and ate our baked beans looking at the stars through the roof. Lying there waiting to sleep the air was cool and there was nothing around but the wind and the grass and I wondered if the owner of the land might come, or someone would see our car and I’d wake in the middle of the night and see a silhouette against the sky and not know what kind of person it was.
    Their family must have lived there for thousands of years but they’d be killed if they went home. Now they build a home out of a car wash.
    It was the same argument we never have. The same reason there’s never a welcome when I’ve been away.
    “You hate us because you have to work because of us.”
    “No, it’s the opposite.”
    “You’re going to leave me.”
    “I’m still here.”
    “You will. All men do. You will, just like your father, and you’ll take the kids because you know you can.”

I stopped for a bacon and egg roll and coffee. I went west and turned on to quieter roads and, once the sun had been down for a while, pulled over on a stretch where the car could be away from the road. There was a small town beyond the paddocks and over the creek and no houses nearby. The air was cool and clean. Down the embankment the long dewy grass wet the cuffs of my jeans. I pissed on a fence post, looking at the stars. It was cold but in the boot was one of her long musty old winter coats from Vinnies. It had always been a bit tight and was getting mildewy so she’d tried to throw it out one spring clean. It was a unique jacket with a Russian design. It would look good on our daughter when she was older. It only needed a dry clean so I’d snuck it into the car boot. The rumble of a truck woke me up from time to time and seeing the headlights glowing white then red in the dew on the car window I remembered where I was and when. I’d turn to get more comfortable on the car seat and pull the musty jacket back over my face. It was good to be home.