Academic journal article Antipodes

Terms for Repayment

Academic journal article Antipodes

Terms for Repayment

Article excerpt

For my aunt's husband Wal

his strike-me-lucky chuckle

remains on lease to his son life-long,

yet Wal's sense of humor

could go absent-without-leave

at a farm gate left open

by his red-haired boy, or when

Hogan's Heroes came on the t.v. screen:

that was not how he

remembered Stalag 17

with her dead-broke in pocket

and heart, Uncle Wal loaned

his wife's sister a four-figure sum

to keep my sisters and I-welcome

guests in his cowshed, riding shotgun

on his tractor-free from a state

ward's children home:

no rate of interest charged,

no terms for repayment set

at the grave of his wife's brother

(fellow prisoner-of-war-

from Changi instead)

Wal's face cracked in half

when poppies fell on rosewood-

another name on the honor roll:

this time he could pull

no loved one in need

back from the depths of a hole

within twelve months a lone bugle

played the Last Post once more:

having drawn no shot

from the guard tower, Wal had thought

he'd escaped the compound,

to be picked off years later-

still middle-aged-

by a booby-trap left

in the heart of his ground

[Author Affiliation]

RODNEY WILLIAMS's poems have appeared in Overland, Blue Dog, Five Bells and, in the U. …

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