I left with the Sunshine
and found the rain
the bitter cold
but slept in stop-start watches
wrapped in blankets
and a fire’s warm breath;
woke to the exhalation of adventure
an open road
a lifting sky
so young, so bold
so very free.
Thirteen hours
through tiny towns
bordered by dry gullies
unpronounceably named
and optimistically reminiscent
of water.

Thirteen hours
through changing earth
from red through orange ochre
to black
and back again
from trees
and close-knit fences
to grass
nothing but grass and dirt
from us to the edge of all things.
Thirteen hours
through a sunburnt country
through roadhouse breakfast
through deep-fried lunch to go
through a boxful
of songs we gave up pretending
not to remember.

Thirteen hours
of road trains with four trailers
of caravans
and of breakneck speeds
cut down to size.

The thirteenth hour
(oh, poetic bliss)
brought death
not ours
but the emblem of our nation
smeared across the glossy blue
in a moment of crushed metal and smoking tyres.
The kangaroo
crawled away to die
while we drove on
resplendent in our survival.

On Sunday afternoon
we defy the laws of gravity
and potter about the sky
window-shopping
for bogged lambs and empty tanks.
As the centre of the universe falls away
beneath my wheels
I cannot help but think,
I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

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