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 […]

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 […]

So I Get Up And Wander Around

Elusive Morphia is running late for this evening’s date. I’ve rolled over and left room for her. She favours others, I fear. My choices waver between soothing my heart with soulful tunes by those who’ve been ‘stood up’ or turning the radio on and listening to rambling interviews. I’ll risk missing her wave tunneling through […]

BUTTERFLIES IN TRAINING

We’re small people going on an excursion with our teacher. A school day but off the school grounds. We are to walk in formation. The arrangement transforms us externally. Makes us safer. To those within it is something else. “Everybody in lines. Girls, line up behind Amelia. Boys there, behind Tonto. Good. Off we go […]

WATCHING THE SUNDAY MORNING WALKERS

From my patio vantage, the upper half of the elderly man is visible over the front fence. Sports cap and sunglass clad against the early sun he moves slowly, inclines his head, halts. He seems to remain in suspended animation, neither going nor coming. A stillness radiates from him and I wonder if he is […]

ON COVETING

From the verandah’s dark recess Jason eyes Eveline’s scallop-edged petticoat, coveting the pristine broderie anglaise. He nervously gnaws at the skin inside his cheek. Her hands never stop moving. She chatters to the tall man, a marionette guided by a long-limbed puppeteer. Jason feels the lightness of her tethered passing as a butterfly’s wing, hovering […]

THE FORGOTTEN DOLLS

Jason brought the abandoned girls home from work. They had dirty faces and clothing that looked like it had seen better days. He showed them forgotten kindnesses. On winter nights he gathered them near the fire’s searing warmth. He melted their reserves. They quickly became his obsession. He recorded them, photographing them in various poses […]