Dead Man Poems II / Tristan Foster

The Dead Man’s Teeth

Rats run along the cathedral fence where
Two schoolgirls ate watermelon slices in the morning sun
Spat seeds into their hands and made a small pile
The Dead Man’s teeth glimmer in his mouth like butter lamps

The Dead Man Has Company

Behind the Horsehead Nebula
The Dead Man parleys
And plays dice games
With other men who live 
Only in poems

The Dead Man has Firm Flesh

The flesh is firm that turns in the sea
O la la
the sea that is cold with dead mens’ tears 
—William Carlos Williams, Spring and All
In the light of a million dying stars 
the Dead Man polishes his boat 
shoulders starburnt 
sanding block in hand 
cheeks covered in sawdust
when he is finished sanding he will paint it
and tinker with the engine
then it will be ready
to rescue him
the next time he drowns



Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. His debut short story collection Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father was published from Transmission Press.

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