A walk on ancestral lands that are not one's own, searching for like minds in the vast Australian landscape.

Image Credit: 
Public Domain

In the beginning, we walked.
Bare-balled feet absorbed

land’s splits, ruts, collisions;
recorded reverberations,

noted longitudes aligned like
sparsely spaced fence posts.

A newcomer here, I trod
a disparate tune, touring:

out to eucalypts, all limbs,
oil vaporising under smiting sun;

out to recluse platypus, brown as mud,
skirting tree-root river bank;

out to skinny sheep and high-strung horses;
peach flat dirt track kicking dust that clung,

clammed up backs of utes, throats, shot
down one-lane straight lines to nowhere.

Out to tea-tree gorge – no echo
just the harsh crash of emptiness.

At dark, I’d walk the long yard solo
serenading sky’s southern pinholes.

Only chained dogs sang back, spearing
across distance our vocal longing for a pack.

Jess is a writer and editor whose first poem was printed in her local paper in rural Australia when she was seven. She’s still writing.

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