As the crow flies

Dawn. Nanna and Pa sit on the verandah, knitting and reading.
Watching the roos graze…

Five miles down the road
the neighbours’ anklebiters scoff soggy Weetbix
and milk with heaps of Milo.
Mum peels a rockmelon
and throws the rinds in the chookbucket under the sink.
The rocky devoured,
little voices beg to go on the tramp.
‘Make sure you take turns!’ she calls as she sips her cuppa
and stares vacantly through the flyscreen…

On the way into town, road workers break for smoko
lighting ciggies, telling yarns
gasbagging about last night’s exploits.
Traffic crawls past.
‘Get a geez at that ute — it’s a bloody beauty!’ says Ron.
‘And check out the sheila driving! She’s got more front than Myers!
Wouldn’t mind a bird like that!’
The Summer day heats up as they talk
and the ‘blasted blowies’ stick to arms, backs, faces…

At the milkbar
the local kids’ bikes lie abandoned on the footpath
and they stand on tiptoe at the counter
pondering what treasures their pocket money can afford.
Icypoles, bullets, teeth, fags, redskins…

A few blocks away, it’s Kate’s birthday party.
Dad runs the sack races on the back lawn
while her sisters thread the Cheezels onto a string for the Cheezel Munch.
Her toddler brother sits playing amidst the discarded Pass the Parcel wrapping…

Over the back fence, the smell of a BBQ is irresistible.
Jason and Kellie are inside putting on their togs to run through the sprinkler.
Bruce stands with a tinnie in one hand and tongs in the other
and calls out, “Kids! Snags ‘n chops are ready. Bring the sauce!”

The sun blazes high…

As the crow flies

Mieke Boynton

Broome, Australia

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