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 […]

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 […]

WIDGET’S DOLL MUSEUM

The old house has creaky bones and shifts on its timber stumps when the southerly winter winds creep around the eaves. Inside rooms between deep verandahs and central hallway, the dolls huddle on dusty shelves. Glazed eyes wobble behind glass cases, porcelain limbs clutching flags of different nations. The material, faded where the sunlight slides, […]

THE COLLECTOR

Eveline stamps her feet impatiently on the concrete steps, dislodging damp grass, her shins tingling. Daddy has promised her a morning with the beautiful ones, the ladies with the pale faces and ringlet hair done up in bows and bonnets. They whispered to her from rosebud mouths, the faintest swipe of rose petal hued paint […]

A POSTCARD FROM PARADISE

We evicted the python and moved into “Paradise” during the wet season.  Three weeks of solid rain.  Now we’re watching the grass grow, literally. For a country residence it needed work to make habitable, though plenty call it home. The world’s nocturnal croaking frog population camp outside our bedroom window.  At breakfast they handover to […]

Flowering

My three year old self wanted to be a flower. Couldn’t my mother, a keen gardener, just plant and water me somewhere with sufficient sunshine? No one explained ‘impossible’. Later I fell under the spell of orchids. Imagination loved the bee, native wasp and ant seduced by appearances, deranged by design and wrapped up in […]

BONDI BEACH-ITIS

Sydney had a temperature. Bondi Beach waved, beckoning. Ignoring thousands of pale bodies packed like grilling prawns on the sand, she feels the soothing cool water on hot skin and tastes the familiar saltiness of the Pacific. Offshore the incredible chattering of the masses at play rises cicada-like. Emerging, her senses are assaulted by foreign […]

SANTA PROBABLY DRIVES A RIDE-ON MOWER

  The high drone with mosquito-like insistence heralds summer mornings in the suburbs.  Swarms of garden elves are firing up. “All I want for Christmas… is my neighbour’s whipper snipper to die!” – the accident and emergency doctor’s wife. Further north the sentiments are more explicit: “Neighbour getting busy with his mowing and whipper snippering […]

A MOSAIC OF EX-PLATE

Walking to an afternoon’s ocean swim through the beachside car park, two children and their mother skirt a flower of smashed ceramic, crunched by passing wheels into a smattering of small angular petals. What was once a china plate decoratively mosaics the grey bitumen.  White pieces glinting hard-edged in the sun. Daughter observes that her […]