When the ants become active.

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Run through the jungle

Frying fish laden with turmeric and chilli and salt, aromas thick with memories of my childhood rise. With them rise waves of self doubt, of sadness that seeps from the marrow of my bones. I’m choked by what-ifs and sliding-door scenarios.

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The Prophet

I take a left at the end of my street and turn down a barely used laneway. I’m trying to avoid people, trying to maintain social distance, or physical distance, or whatever the latest pandemic catchphrase is. Hardly anyone comes down this way. I know this from walking the dogs. In the daytime, the odd dog-walker ventures down this lane, but at dusk it’s just me and the homeless folks rifling through rubbish or stolen goods dumped by reprobate youth fleeing from shadows and whispers of police sirens.

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A golden thread runs between my mother’s garden and mine. Earth beneath fingernails carries legacy and heritage.

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The conversion of cat people

There hadn’t been a dog in our family in my living memory. When I was a baby, there was Johnny – a pure bred bitser[1], a beast of the most patchwork genealogy possible, a hotchpotch of canine genetics that tested the limits of hybrid vigour. But he was a myth, a legend, a story drawn from the mists of time. As far as I was concerned, we were devout cat people.

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Maintain the rage

“We’re tired,” he said. “We’ve faced 30 metre walls of flame. Seen fire skip breaks, hop highwaysleap rivers.”

We tried to warn you,” they said. “A year ago. More.”

Unprecedented’, the lone beacon among weasel words that shift the blame.

Will outrage stay lit another two years?

Image credit: Image by Daniel Zuflucht from Pixabay

Aussie chick

“Good morning!” The man hailing me adjusted his hearing aid with one hand and waved with the other. His neatly pressed shorts stood to stiff attention around his thin legs — more a cordon than clothing. His short-sleeved shirt and sturdy leather sandals completed the image of a man who took pride in his appearance and valued how he was viewed. Thinning white hair parted with each gust of wind to reveal the pink of his scalp. I noticed his hands as he released his small, wiry-haired dog from its leash to complete its morning ablutions — speckled with sunspots on almost translucent skin, a railway track of criss-crossing veins bulging at the surface, knuckles bent and gnarled and probably arthritic.

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The Petite Grief of Rejection Emails

Yet another rejection email has hit my inbox. Yet another chip has been eroded from my soul. I don’t know how rejections affect everyone else, but I assume it’s similar. There’s a level of deeply intimate, deeply personal critique in the sharp hidden edges of an email thanking me for my work, noting the large number of high quality entries, and wishing me luck elsewhere. Those words morph and reshape themselves into cheery proclamations of my fears.

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Morning walk

Dear Walking Group Women,

I see you, my siblings, and I ignore you. Namaste. Or Peace Be With You. Or May the Odds be Ever in Your Favour. Or whatever version of in-tune, en pointe (on point? On pointe? On-ee point-ee?), in-the-moment greeting du jour holds currency right now. And yes, I did roll my eyes at your Namaste, so heartily imbued with an affected spiritual significance that a humble ‘hello’ just doesn’t convey.

It’s not you, it’s me. I am not a morning person. 

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Fire and fury

CN: graphic description (no image) of burned animal

I fill my glass to the brim with ice. So much ice that the water I pour in has to jostle and squeeze past, hugging corners, slipping salaciously past curves and furrows like it’s making a run for the bar in a crowded nightclub, arms high, eyes on the prize, ‘excuse me’ and ’sorry’ and ‘pardon me’ flung in every direction. I check my phone as a slow stream hisses from the fridge. Twitter and Facebook flick images of leaping flames, and singed landscapes so barren they look otherworldly, and animals, caught fleeing the conflagration, trapped in fencing wire, their faces contorted by fear and fire. 

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