After the Burning / Comes the Rain (Two Drabbles)

The sweet essence of milled sugarcane washes over me. I’ve wound the car window down as I drive beside the river, inhaling the echo of sugar that earlier waved from a patchwork paddock. Exercising sun salutations in Winter’s stillness triggers the emergence of torchbearers. Circling the crop molten flames drop. Centrifugally forced, bush rats and the diamond […]

ENDANGERED: COASTAL EMUS AND SUGAR CANE FARMERS

Though I have traveled this stretch of highway several hundred times, only twice have I seen the rare and elusive coastal emu. More squat than his inland cousins with brown feathers, he sailed regally through the green sea of knee-high sugar cane. I recall this windshield scene and the retired cane farmer says that although […]

THE LANDING

Not being a parachutist, I notice the incoming bird with splayed feet and the awkward wings of a teenager. Others look up, grounded as we are, to benches and grass and sand. Mothers pushing children on arcing swings. The fisherman casting bait through parabolas into saltwater. Even the dog that marked the pole. Collectively we […]

The Nude Painting

The artist’s model reclines. Fully clothed, he fusses with the line of his shirt, the trouser length, his tie. A stray thread worries him. He pulls at it. “Comfortable?” she enquires. His face is fully exposed to the woman sketching him, she who will paint him and capture his face… torso… legs… on canvas. He […]

Footpaths and Orbits

He’s fascinated. Her skateboard has a tropical red hibiscus design that reminds him of his mother’s festive tablecloths, red , green and seasonal. She laughs. He takes the floppy-eared dog for another walk around the block while he finishes drinking the bottle of beer. He feels lightheaded. She slides the diamond stud from her ear […]

Sparkle!

“Sparkle with me, Lilly!” The lady who harbours original growth forest secrets in her nooks and crannies has stripped off and with the brassiness and aplomb of uninhibited age, coupled with a ‘who bloody cares anymore’ attitude, calmly tacks through the beach-goers on a course for waters glistening. Racing across the sand, my one-piece swimming […]

Constance F. Gordon-Cumming Finds Home

Orphaned young, Constance accepted the governor’s invitation to sail to Fiji.  With pen and brush the Scottish spinster records sweating missionaries civilizing island savages. After drinking kava from the enlightened coconut shell, the mountains beckon her with echoes of distant highlands ablaze with heather.  With the native women she climbed the dangerous tracks, her long […]

Dissatisfaction and the Author

“Everywhere else in the world seems exciting. But I am not famous.” “Yes you are,” she disagrees. A semi-experimental novelist is just a fraction of the world that he exists in. He is relatively famous, within this thinly spread audience. He sips dandelion wine and ponders the marshmallow soles of his sneakers.* If he wanted […]