|Jul/Aug 2015 Poetry Special Feature|
Photography by Lydia Selk
Crooked posts clutch at inward tracks,
sunny mounds and hollow cattle grids
fatigue tyres with obligatory bumps,
it's the fundamental labor of the Australian outback.
Wire strands separate herd from pasture,
foxes dig underneath, rabbits burrow either side.
Broken latches rally with frayed rope,
the open/shut routine
incites cattle-dogs to bark from tray-top utes
and keeps the stockmen from falling asleep.
Halved beer kegs or diesel drums
forge mail boxes big enough to hold rural pride,
upright struts are dressed as scarecrows
with azalea colored hats that befriend magpies,
outstretched sleeves provide a roost
for yellow-crested cockatoos.
Small accesses of welded shapes accommodate
trail bikes and visiting kin,
rusty padlocks are past the loss of keys,
nobody gets locked out or in.
But it's the wide triple bar
that draws something deep—
the ride across a muddy ditch,
arms braced over top rail,
feet clamped between steel-tubing.
It's the solid click at sundown.