What I return to and miss




Like random thoughts of the coming week

white cockatoos rise and fall over a paddock of stones.

Out here on the Foxhow Road where the mind is let go

the dip and curve of their scurrying flight

blends with the memories I rely upon for argument.


A single strand electric fence enables Black Polls

to feed beside the road. Next to the cows, a line

of wooden posts recedes into a shallow lake.

This is horizontal country where what I bury

rises to the surface along ribbons of bitumen

with the sun in my eyes.


Crumbling stonewall fences

sacred dwelling sites, stories I haven’t heard

isolated roads I drive to be found in.

Townships diminish, dusky salt pans endure

yet like the certainty of a doubt Mt Elephant manages

to hold the paddocks down.


I pull over, take a photo, spear grass whispers in a breeze.

A lone car barrels out of a bend. This is what I know, this channelled longing

inescapable as a blaze of canola spreading down to a gunmetal lake.

Yet knowledge is more than absorbing these back roads

or noticing sheep standing on a dam bank’s mound.


It’s the questions that surface with each escape

from lockdown. The passing view of Mount Myrtoon –

in Djargurd Wurrung country, a low-slung scoria cone

fenced into a paddock, fenced into silences.

I keep looking back to five wind-slanted cypresses

on a distant ridge, the spaces between them confirm

what it is I return to and miss.


Share This

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.

Share This

Back to Authors