On the long road

This is a poem on the long road
A trip to no where
Step by step he drags his foot
Wondering if he’s gonna hitch a ride

This poem makes you feel tired and thirsty
The man curses the water mirage
Of an old fellah chanting the rain
In the distance, on the horizon line

This poem stops and lets you cut into it
Straight black, white dotted lines fading
Into the brown horizon, mixing into the sky
Steam rises, sweat falls

At anytime you wonder if he’s going to make it
But he staggers with a limp into the middle
At 200 kms an hour a wind just hits him
Not a dragging foot sounds, not even a breath

The poem ends with a long breaking sound
Squeaking, whistling sound and comes to a halt.

Acknowledgement: The opening words of each stanza are from ‘This is a poem’ by Catherine Bateson

Hans Katakarinja

Hans Katakarinja currently lives in Tennant Creek with his two daughters. He was born in Ntaria (Hermannsburg), about 130km south-west of Alice Springs, and speaks Western Arrarnta. ‘The Pain Rains’, was recently published in This country anytime anywhere, an anthology of new Indigenous writing from the Northern Territory.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays