A disused rail siding,
the grass-covered platform
a sharp-edged mound of earth.

Loose clunks of coal, patches
of brown dirt, the gums’ sparse shadow.
At the edge of the bush, crow calls

shush the wheeling song of magpies.
The odd car fizzes past, thirty-
somethings behind the wheel

born long after the mines closed down.
In the middle-distance, short
of those hills, it’s eucalyptus haze,

not bushfire smoke, that distorts
the changing patterns of light between clouds
that flicker on the low slopes. Even though

that light travels so quickly, scanning
for the outline of the road into the hills
is like looking into a hazy future.

I kick a spot of gravel, trying
to frame roughly where a photo was taken,
somewhere very near here, once.

Greg McLaren is a Sydney-based poet, critic and editor. His last book was The Kurri Kurri Book of the Dead and he’s currently working on a sequence of poems ‘about’ museums.

© Greg McLaren
Overland 203-winter 2011, p. 81

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