The Video of the Dead Man / Tristan Foster

I

A camera pans across the group
Waiting in the alleyway
Like bored boys do
Posing, as if assembled
Prodded into place
Eyes squinting against the sunlight
Wall behind them the orange of baked desert rocks and graffitied
Brick exposed in scabs
The Dead Man notices the cameraman
And he waves

I know

The essence of the Dead Man stayed on the harbour floor
This is a fact
Heavy and complete like
The propeller of a sunken ship
Something we could recover, haul up from under the waves
Polish, remove the clams
Maybe if it was re-attached to a motor or a body it
Could work again?

But I know

The graffiti reads:
Ali hearts K—
Faded heart scratched black and K no longer
A full name, dashed
But Ali still loves you
Like bored boys do

Meanwhile

The shot lingers on
The Dead Man
Full body
He is speaking
Quite seriously to a friend
Almost unmoving, arms folded
Could be frozen in a photograph while his comrades are fluid, blinking
In other words: alive
But then his face breaks into a smile
He turns and, before the scene changes, waves to the camera



Tristan Foster is a writer from Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Letter to the Author of the Letter to the Father and 926 Years, co-authored with Kyle Coma-Thompson.

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