Driving through Mallee towns




Straight roads give you time to think

watch wheat fields unroll. Here you know

where the horizon stands: far-off, remembered

the light unrelenting as a migraine coming on.


Behind a row of houses facing main street

is the scrub, Mallee stumps, dry creek bed

a high school clings to a view of canola crops

the need to escape appears to be generational.


Red brick two-storey hotels closed down.

Op shops thriving on a street that could be

a stage set. In the hardware store, a line

of rifles, cross-bows on shelves, but the threat


is in the flatness you never knew

a mirage distorting the road ahead.

You focus by holding onto the wheel

driven to flee from where thoughts have led.

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