Number 7


by Roland Leach


He lived alone in Number 7, his wife well gone. He slept in the afternoons, woke in the middle of the night and went to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and smoke a cigarette. He only smoked one a day and looked forward to it.

Number 7 was the worst house in the street.

He often sat in a plastic chair on the front porch and watched the kids coming home from school. He rode a green scooter, a lime-green scooter, the type that has trouble getting up steep hills.

Sometimes he played old cassettes and cried. When it became too much he went into the garden and pruned the plumbago into a perfect sphere. Pruned the hedge into a triangle.

They used to picnic on the lawn. On hot nights they spread a blanket and ate chicken and drank red wine.

The body and blood. Amen.


Roland Leach has three collections of poetry, the latest, My Father’s Pigs, published by Picaro Press. He is a past winner of the Newcastle Poetry Prize and Josephine Ulrick Prize and the recipient of an Australia Council Grant to write poetry in the Galapagos Islands. He is currently the Poetry Editor at University of Western Australia for Westerly and is proprietor of Sunline Press, which has published eighteen collections of poetry by Australian poets. Most of his time, however, is taken up as a teacher of Literature.



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