December 2007 - January 2008

Arts & Letters

The Usual

By Craig Sherborne

Nose down in the froth of his clover beer

the grey horse sups alone.

He ignores a butting calf with its patched coat,

and the flitting tarts the wagtails -


how he must hate their chirpy songs;

they can't really hold a tune,

only some pitiful, high-pitched laughs.

The old lady cow with her udder showing and nipple hair.


Dependables this time each evening that he prefers to turn his back to.

The owl on a fencepost stool.

The annoying flickering light bulb of lightning.

A magpie pushes another with its chest, there's a second's flap and fighting,


but the horse minds his own business;

he's not complicated with paddock politics -

the only poll he knows about is the knob of fuzz-fringe between his ears.

He's like a simpleton, letting his feet be caked with mud


and flies fiddle with his eye corners, hair that never sees a brush.

He pisses wherever he wants and has green teeth

from continually skolling the world. It's his addiction.

He does it for hours, staring into his habit that's eventually quelled,


though for all that, his ribs still stick out.

Then his gravity returns, pulls him down

to its level, and he must take up his spot

once more, head lowered in the half dark by himself.

Craig Sherborne

Craig Sherborne is the author of the highly acclaimed memoir Hoi Polloi, and its sequel Muck, which won the Queensland Literary Award for Non-Fiction. He has written two volumes of poetry, Bullion and Necessary Evil, and two novels, The Amateur Science of Love and Tree Palace.

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