Just So – Sandra Thibodeaux

Not the pockets,

the coroner repeats –

the shorts, rocks in his shorts,

between his legs,

big as plates, spilling

as the boy is lifted

from the waterhole.

Rocks drop like crockery

on the inquest.


red singlet

pressed to his Nanna’s chest

the scent of her washing powder


Coroner’s shots:

1. Tracks lead

from safe place

to burial site.

2. Calloused toes press mud.

3. Shadows finger

the hardened prints, 4.

now on their way to another little boy.


careful selection

a red singlet

and navy shorts

for the shanghai shooter

who’s happiest on a horse

who keeps a red heeler


except that day


Point 80:

an ‘irrational focus’

on accidental drowning

swims into view.

No child would want to dive into that

shallow grave.

Destroyed swabs, drained eyes, cops

who need the dead to stay down,

and out of the headlines.


Years pass

before the singlet makes it home.


clothes just so

red piping on the shorts

navy stripe across the singlet

a shark logo


They were coming into town

for the old man’s funeral. One

tipped into earth while another

is held beneath water, rocks

weighing his shorts,

taking his breath.

Days later, his bare, brown chest lifts

and stirs an ‘irrational focus’,

a bad call, clumsy steps.



a number 8 shirt

XXXX can

DNA of a sex offender

inexplicable loss

of things

just so



delays and dirtied evidence

led nowhere

like prints that arrived or left

or scuffled to survive.

No, they fell

as children will

in the hands of police

with other things planned

for the weekend.


Originally published in Mulla Mulla Press.