(Resemblance to any living or dead person
or other is purely coincidental)
When I was a kid, on the East Reservoir estate
everyone called each other’s pets by the surname
of the family. Kim ‘Meredith’ was a Labrador
slobbering so much saliva pools were left at gates.
His dad was a carpenter and known
for voting Communist and had shiny chisels.
Flopper ‘Cochrane’ was some sort of spaniel
droopy ears from posh people with a car,
they must have been in exile with an apple tree,
they also looked older than the street.
Yipper ‘Leighton’ a cat with only half a tail
came over the back by the new linking avenue
from the Finnish family who gave me bread
exotic dark braided shiny with egg wash.
Pirate ‘Olsen’ was what mum called
a ‘dirty’ Lassie dog and humped all that moved
or didn’t, dug up sand pits and peed on your door.
Gyp ‘Thompson’ was a German Shepherd
everyone was scared of but remembered
who won the war, even while crossing over
to the school side of the parade still a paddock.
Everybody walked in and out back and front yards
to go to Irene’s dairy, but stayed clear
of the other Buchanans, they had chooks and a crazy rooster,
and if you didn’t hurry would try to borrow money.
The shop was in a shed out back
with ice creams in a freezer, her old dad
played a banjo and several blue budgies sat at his neck.
We had a black dog bolted via a left open gate
hit and killed by a car within seconds,
in those times a driver would come and say sorry
I don’t remember that one’s name, really.