March 2021

Back to Issue 9


By Carl Walsh

in heaven’s dustbowl 

     I’m caught among willy-willies 

that drive dirt in circles

rounding it up sharp-teethed & gentle 

     like a kelpie

until it’s a thing of wind’s will

          twirling topsoil

     displacing it in clouds

as ute does 

     down these dirt roads 

that are here to confuse us 

     in wanderings

farm gates

misshapen gums 

rusty wrecks of cars that didn’t make it 

     round corners 

& spun over 

     & over 

     panel-beating down the roof

sandblasting paintwork in stilling dust 

     waiting for cursing driver to emerge

          breathe deeply

shake themselves down 

          & hitch hike into town

most did emerge

     (we felt unbreakable then

that speed was the cooling that slipped in 

     through half-open windows 

that dust was for cars that followed

     drivers easing off the accelerator 

          until we were far-off in the distance) 

& only then the kookaburras broke the silence 

laughing off the dry-grasses & spilt sunlight of day’s end.