The Tea and Sugar Train
Remember we could see the river from the kitchen sink
Badhiin says now through pregnancy, tracks and Country
through mulga and saltbushed sparseness
lashes these quartz veins passing through red desert
lashes of hot metal memory, tethers binding up land
and somewhere at the other end is her endless Country.
Remember the matins song of dawn Kookaburras
who smelt day at the pit of night
prophesying the warmth would be birthing.
Remember the noontide Callistemon lanterns
hip-swaying sirens, sunlit
breeze swinging, then beak dropped.
Remember the scent of warming nectar wafting
the vespers of Welcome Swallows at twilight
telling the Cockatoos move off.
Or the hoop hoop hoop of the Wonga
trekking from feast to nest
the click and clack of the evening train
the rhythm of life passing in a river, in child’s-play splash
the hum of bees pollinating a woodfired water heater.
Remember the hush as a pipe smoked from evening
when tethers were kin, not railway sleepers.
Badhiin’s boys watch as tears make quinacridone of dust
inking out a rusted ball bearing grief, that scraps and whinnies
through dry ancient dust-blight and grease
across a thousand millennia
where Tea and Sugar bring home memories fading.