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his shirt still smells of last September
the kettle whistles
he peels an orange
term two, week five, sick day seven

he folds the washing in the bedroom
only to discover passages of notes scrawled in darkness
in the back pocket of his favourite corduroys
paint sad men doing press-ups

he empties an ashtray into the garbage disposal
unlatches the kitchenette windows
to clear the air before the kids get home
he remembers the way the willows
traced the skin of the Avon

he reads an article about excessive stress
symptoms: #1 hair loss, #2 loss of appetite, #3 insomnia
he scribbles on the back of a receipt
get a number two hair cut
buy a book on Fiji
paint sunburnt, shirtless boys eating breakfast cereal at midnight

he compares her to his wife
at least she buys her own cigarettes

Oscar Bannan is a Year 13 student at St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch.