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BRENDAN RYAN

Gravel Stories

He was turning into his gateway
when he was struck from behind.

Fog had stolen the road
barbed wire couldn’t hold back the quiet

or the farmer
trying to believe what the fog revealed:

his brother dead and a neighbour
shaking against the side of a car.

Road accidents, suicides, careless deaths
a district catches its breath

and memories trail a family’s name:
his son getting through the fence with a shotgun

her parents cleaned up by a milk tanker.
Talk around the kitchen table

slows down to a stare out the window
a shaking of the head, questions.

They sat a stubby on the grave
of a footballer everybody knew

then drank the afternoon to his name.
Somewhere near the Drive-in

they rolled and she flew
like a story itching to be told.