Academic journal article Hecate

Speaking Of

Academic journal article Hecate

Speaking Of

Article excerpt

Where are you Heather Bell?

dead or alive with such fair curly hair --

it would be fashionable now

what did we find in each other

side by side at our scarred desks

and then at recess sitting on the bench

built right round the pepper tree's trunk

sometimes slipping off the pink dry husks

and sucking the sweet hot berries

sometimes munching a vegemite sandwich

or hanging upside down on the iron rail

our cotton dresses flapping in our faces

did you marry a farmer?

me? I fell in love many times

in and out as if it was the sea

and I still living as we did then

at the beach

I think you would have been more dignified

I could never pull myself up to the top of the rail

as you could

I had to fall off

perhaps I had weak arms

do you remember the Ritz Cafe?

with its coleuss plants I hated them did you?

and we had milk shakes for a shilling there

you know I went back

it's still there much the same

but the coleusses have gone

and they sell Chiko rolls now too

at Elder Smith's they have a computer

I bought a piece of sheeps' raddle there

in memory of my Father --

a stick of it always rolled around the back of our car

often with a sheep mute and bound on the seat

I wonder where he was taking it

did you hear the man who used to expose himself

to us fell off the jetty and drowned

I heard that with relief when I was twelve

did you ever tell your Mother about him --

I didn't

I did though tell her of another

who did rather more than that

she made me promise not to tell my Father

I remember how earnest she suddenly became --

she thought my Father might kill him

so I didn't speak of it again

I realise all my life

I've been drawn to people like you

dignified and moderate

mild tempered

I dash around with a butterfly net

trying to capture everything

the past the present

most slips through like air

I grow more exhausted

sometimes I simply flap

do you remember Gresham Ebbs

so blond with caterpillars crawling

inside his shirt

sitting behind him the back of my legs grew rigid

when I saw one creep up his neck

I still find men full of surprises

you had a small brother I think his name was Geoffrey

I had three

their names were Tom Bill and Peter

at home they were called

Tucker Wilberforce and Pierre

when things went wrong at school

I always ran away

now I have again

Queensland this time

to a hammock on a wide white verandah

I lie here in its net

making swipes at the past

capturing these few things

the past that never returns or leaves

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