Poetry

Illawarra Family Tree

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Illawarra Family Tree

Says the Sylvester boy to young Mary,
“Come out Miss Mary, come out
and feel the rain.”
Red earth under his nails
drops like tears on his dirty shirt.
All the fields open to the sky.
 
Says the Sylvester boy to young Mary,
“Will you dance?” as he hums a tune
hair over his eyes,
and disused laughter
rising from her throat.
Nails in his boots like the tic-tac
of possums in the roof.
 
And the birds in the gums lark at the summer sunset sky
the thief in the kitchen, the fire in his eyes.

Says the Sylvester boy to Mary,
“Will you run away with me, Miss Mary?”
dirty water on the horse’s flanks
a saddlebag of books,
trotting from the bungalow
jarrah shelves of girlish dreams.
Bottlebrush bouquets and his
calloused proposal.
 
Says young Mary to the Sylvester boy,
“My husband returns soon.”
Carrion crows picking at the white
skeleton of eucalyptus.
The solid kick of panic
in her gut, the blistered skin
of tilled soil, a daydream
dirt on her palms.
 
And the birds in the gums lark at the summer sunset sky
the thief in the kitchen, the fire in his eyes.

1 thought on “Illawarra Family Tree”

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