'one must utilise every part of the animal (when faced with one’s own fears)' by David Stavanger | States of Poetry QLD - Series Two

I am hearing voices –

banging pots, something
living in my skin, trucks
picking up what’s left of the week.

A man appears at the front fence, wants
to know if the cattle dog is friendly.

‘I’m not sure but you’re welcome to enter.’

The man asks if he will be safe
on the other side of the bolted gate
looks first at our dog’s bared teeth
then my worn underpants.

He wants guarantees that can’t be given.

I say ‘You should be okay, just don’t touch
his head or make sudden movements.’
It is important to explore the possibilities
even though our dog’s yellow teeth
could no longer puncture
a meter man’s shaking hand.

I tell him it’s a dingo
which could be either of us
hairs up, hunched, position downwind
not canine nor tenant
staring through him
from the burning deck.

David Stavanger