Fried Rice

Words by: Paddy McPhee
Art by: Molly Burmeister

The rain falls like socks off the line

sinking softly

Melting imprints


The concrete stained streets 

where we meet and discuss who’s who and what’s what,

listening intently as the world passes by, and the trees overgrow.

If we could we’d spend our time, 

holding hands 

drinking coffee while I stare at your face

and you stare at the ground

hiding in your laughter,

back when the nights were still warm. 

Remember when clouds of smoke billowed out across the playground

from mums’ frying pan as the boys looked for sticks 

adequate for hitting until they filled their bellies 

with her take on fried rice, lacking in flavour but it smelled like home and

that’s why it’s your favourite.

You can feel her love on your face, and recognise it 

Finding different forms

growing legs

walking off the train station 

or sitting at that little

Vietnamese place on Brunswick Street,

where the rice is better. 

You lie on the sidewalk and watch the lovers walk hand-in-hand

Or a son help his dad across the road, 

tugging at his leg, 

and you know

We don’t talk as much as we used

to but I hope you’re doing just fine,

still sharing the large serve of pho with whoever squeezes your hand tightest.

I can see your grin stretching wide, the broth spilling out the sides.

It lifts my chest a little.

Maybe you’ll call me when you need

an extra set of hands 

to help pick up your head when its down

or to move your couch,

Grab a coffee and split a cigarette sometime,

until that day comes by 

I’ll do my best to check the weather 

for oncoming storms, and leave my door unlocked 

So you’ll have a place to sleep,

Whenever you need.  

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