IAN C SMITH lives in Australia with his wife and four sons. His short fiction has appeared in Australian Book Review, Island, Meanjin, Overland and Westerly, and his non-fiction in The Age. His narrative verse has been published in The Weekend Australian, Best Australian Poetry 2004, Malahat Review, Quadrant and Southerly. His books of verse are published by The Ginninderra Press.

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       Sidestepping

       Between the last two bleak stations,
       beyond which they struggle to live,
       steel sparks on steel, a long stretch.
       School is a lunatic asylum.
       Trains are seven carriages long.
       He curses his father who won't forgive.
       Shirt a sail, he grips rails, finds footholds.
       Revived survivors swallow saliva.
       His mother knows nothing about trains.
       The knack then was hanging on.