Those rocks deflect you
from the red-backs
in your mind that crawled off your brush
onto the canvas that morning:
those Ned Kelly heads
staring at me
from the foot of the quarry:
you looking at me, I say.
You looking at me?
I’m the only one here.
Then I come and get you
and those stolid blocks of stone
with eye slits
wallop your imagination.
the ones you’re committing
to canvas so people can stare at them from the walls
of a gallery.
“You’re like Lee Chandler,” she said.
“Lee Chandler, the guy Casey Affleck plays in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’”
Jackson liked that film but he did not like Lee Chandler, the way he closed himself off from people.
“That saddens me.”
“That you’re like Lee Chandler or that I mentioned it?”
“The reason I brought it up is that I asked you if you’d like to see Anne perform and you said you’d give it a miss though I made it clear I’d like you to go.”
“I know. I’ve thought it over and would like to go see her perform.”
“Because you want to or because you’re afraid of being compared to Lee Chandler?”
It was a little late, Jackson admitted. It would have been better if he’d said so straight off but at least it was a move towards empathy. She would have to give him that.