A man curled in his despondency, rocking on his back,
sees a clown leering in the clouds;
another, dreaming his success and loosely splayed on the grass,
glimpses a white stallion dancing in the same clouds.

A woman with hooded eyes and grubby hands
perceives a tale in the tea-leaves to match her prey;
a girl attends to the misty words of the fortune-teller
and attains a life to fit.

They’re selling belief at the placebo shop,
I’ll take one bottle please;
cognitive dissonance is nothing to sneeze at,
I’ll pay to have it removed?

1. A mother, professor and magician
2. die in annus horribilis;
3. do bad things come in threes?

The eyes in the painting
are following me around the room.

Blood seeps around the edges
of a whitewashed history;
and we stand on the sidelines, applauding Ned Kelly,
and gangs of trigger-happy, rampaging bush-rangers,

after all, the convict is Australian royalty.
The adopted son searches for his identity.

The psychiatrist rolls out the inkblots
and the patient constructs the meaning.