Adam Ford


The Thing

“Have you got the thing?” she asks,
turning around to face me.
My silence demands information.
She repeats herself instead.

“You know…the thing.”

She is searching wide-eyed for the word
that is missing for the moment,
the noun that sits on the fence at the end
of the paddock, legs dangling and staring up

at the way the branches of the gum
cut clouds into shapes and thinking
of a breakfast had late last week,
deaf to the sounds from the porch

where she stands and calls - not its name,
instead shouting, Hey! Hey YOU!"
and watching frustrated as it continues to kick
its heel to its toe and hum a tuneless song.

I’m trying to make a fire without kindling
or matches. Does she mean the scissors?
The leftovers from lunch? The cheat codes?
The bicycle clips? The pumpkin seed jar?

She shakes her head at every suggestion
and tries to mime her meaning.
I shake my head back, missing her point.
The remote control? The secret ingredient?

The will to do what must be done?
We stare at each other until the noun
comes down from the fence of its own accord,
trots through the paddock and throws its arms

around her neck and soaks her face
with kisses. She smiles and shakes her head.
“No—the spoon,” she says, and points at the thing
lying mute on the bench behind me.

I pass it to her and for a moment I feel
the warmth of her hand on my fingers.



Adam Ford lives in a small country town in Victoria, Australia with his wife, their daughter, five chooks and a cat. He is the author of the poetry collections Not Quite the Man for the Job and From My Head, and the novel Man Bites Dog. He has had poetry and short fiction published by Going Down Swinging, cordite, pindeldyboz, Meanjin, HEAT and hutt. He has two websites, one of which is called Monkey Punch Dinosaur.