He was better educated—better than that lot,
he spoke Persian and wrote Persian poetry and
ran around with wild men who fished
the Dunedin rivers with pocket knives, waiting for night
to shine lights at the flounders and roast sparking fillets
on a cast iron fire.

When taunted,
he taunted back—tongue out
flapping raspberries not a doubt
that man was educated. Look at his fingers,
tinged in ink and scarred by bedrock that man knew
how to get someplace—how to handle the machete
and purge the forest of humanlessness.

Humorless they were,
taunting and taunting
and singing swift circle songs holding hands
no names, just one          great           hiss—

his mind stayed current.
Strayed left stayed right swam the river
with feet tied together, the wild boys howled
and he howled back. Greeting the clan

clamoring home-bound the ho-bo
ducked his head when he got to the station
and boarded the first banger to Northumberland.

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