Jake Starr

Dad’s New Dress
Jake Starr

Clothes on a washing line.
The slacks hang off your thick hips.
Ending just above your ankles.

Pedestrian signs or gum wrapped in paper
Thrown to the side of the road.

I wanna be one of the boys
Who sings in masculine tones.
Wearing cowboy boots and frilled dresses.

The country’s dust may caress his knees
But nobody thinks he’ll leave the family home.

Cut the tags off your new dress
Before the sun comes up.
She’s still asleep in your unmade
Quilted mess.

What’s dad going to say when he hears you’re submissive?
Thrown to the side of the road.

What do you owe us for your missteps
That isn’t already paid for
In shaking hands and bad breath?

Steal Pete’s RM Williams from his wardrobe.
Keep the electric razor from grazing above your lip.

The cut on your forearm grander
Than your great grandad’s war medal.


I realise in all the shoving and shouting
That I have the same sun broiled blood
As my father, as his before.

The momentum of every fist they ever threw
Wells up between my finger joints
With an arthritic fervour.

I dream about a farmer’s stubbled fingers
Wrapping around the throat of a pokies machine.

Forcing his wrist
Through his neck
Into the spotted gum floorboards.

Once in a blue moon, Jake Starr thinks he could be a writer. Against the concerned voicemails of family members, he continues to divulge sexual vices clumsily relating them to gripes with not yet deceased relatives. He calls this an art and hopes that you get something out of it.