Roger Fanning


Never been there, but I have seen
on maps the continent, brain-shaped–
a feverish brain of a place broken
free from Gondwanaland long ago

and so become a Darwin farm
for oddball beauties. Eggs cascade
from the platypus's furry ass!
A just-born kangaroo, the size
of a grub, must wriggletrek up
its mother's belly to her pouch.
My point is, these fragile-yet-sturdy
freaks evolved in the world's boondocks
but nowhere else. It's wonderful,

in that way, to be off by oneself.
In solitude, new possibilities breed.

But other times, alone, I tend to want
the TV on, or to leaf through magazines.
Really, in Australia a vast desert
dominates the green. I looked at a map.


Sweet Pea, Pudge Rocket, Baron
Von Squirmer: monikers
evoked by my baby boy.
Nice he is, milk-nibbler,
smooth and vast of mind.
Not much bad has happened
to him yet. Hence Sweet Pea
etc., and hours of play,
and nonsense rhymes, till I'm
exhausted. And he wakes me
in the middle of the night.
In the slant light from the kitchen
I change his diaper. He smiles
and kicks. No nicknames
occur to me, nor can I
muster any funny songs.
Henry just is. I'm tired, kid,
tired, frowsty as a rooster
beat with a baseball bat,
suddenly tender and sad
toward your pale skin. Already
you show signs of my
nature, of being one
who watches. What will
become of you, what will become
of you, my boy? I can only croon
to your gums agrin: Henry Henry Henry.