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Christmastime in Canley

the school orders: come cloaked
in white linen, in sandals smelling
of dust and myrrh. we find the next best thing
knock-offs from supré bedazzled with prismatic
seas of light. all is calm, all is bright.
cotton-swab snow wreathes
the concert stage. sun beats
through the hall windows summer-fierce
boiling the song in our throats.
shepherds quake
at the sight of the busted air-con
our principal totally rekt, sweltering
his balls off
false santa beard
gritty and damp with tradition.

the arvo melts into dusk; cicadas and bats
sing their solstice hymns. someone
whispers: ‘can’t take this anymore cuz
lets’s jig’
it begins, mass exodus of
bikes and skateboards and
thundering sneakered feet. robes
shed onto asphalt, chucked into creeks
radiant beams
torching strands of streaming hair. sweat
pooling in armpits in ass cracks, sky
perfumed with the stench of lynx deo.
under the train bridge, constellations
of names drip in spray paint,
streaks of startling white.



This poem is part of a suite titled Scum.

Go to Claire Cao's profile to read more poems