He likes his holiday job at the Barwon Heads IGA
serving the summer crowds, families mostly,
girls his own age shopping with their mothers,
holding the baskets, one meal at a time.
Strange to think that the mothers were once
the daughters, narrow hips, freckled lips.
Couples navigate the narrow aisles with city prams.
A man on the dark side of middle age
scours the shelves for sushi rice and nori sheets.
Here his height is useful – he’s tall enough
to pack the highest shelves, or reach any item down.
When his shift ends, he rides his skateboard home,
tunnelling through narrow streets, past brand new houses
where tourists live for the summer weeks.
A girl calls to her sister from the balcony,
men drink beer on a front veranda under
the feathery branches of a peppercorn tree.
Kids ride bikes or skate past him in the evening light,
A big girl gives her little brother a piggyback down the road.
A group of teenage girls, wearing bikinis and cotton shirts,
walk lazily, knock into each other, hip against hip.
He is invisible to them, though he served some of them
with their mothers earlier today. Avocados, blue cheese.
One day they will be their mothers. He skates on.
He’s a ghost in this town, he belongs to winter, spring,
those ordinary days when the dusk rolls in.