7 Jan 2013

Drifters -- Bruce Dawe

[1930–current, Australian]

One day soon he’ll tell her it’s time to start packing
and the kids will yell ‘Truly?’ and get wildly excited for no reason
and the brown kelpie pup will start dashing about, tripping everyone up
and she’ll go out to the vegetable-patch and pick all the green tomatoes from the vines
and notice how the oldest girl is close to tears because she was happy here,
and how the youngest girl is beaming because she wasn't.
And the first thing she’ll put on the trailer will be the bottling-set she never unpacked from Grovedale,
and when the loaded ute bumps down the drive past the blackberry canes with their last shrivelled fruit,
she won’t even ask why they’re leaving this time, or where they’re headed for
she’ll only remember how, when they came here
she held out her hands, bright with berries,
the first of the season, and said:
‘Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.’

Source: Dawe, B 1962, No Fixed Address, Cheshire, Melbourne.

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