The suburban bus route

elicits in its rider

a mood of compliance

while it finds the longest distance

possible between two points,

allowing that time is expendable,

that mangrove swamps, ti-tree forests

and wild coasts become sub-divisions

with names like Anna Bay, Corlette.

Everything happens in slow motion,

each passing sign a long call

for attention: Subway Drive-Thru;

Baylife Church; Laser Skirmish;

Spectrum Church Café/School.

At a point which could be

half way, the bus pulls in beside

Putters Mini Golf and Clay Target Shooting

on a gravel shoulder

across from a boggy farm

that wants to be marsh land.

The engine cuts. One or two people

continue to talk about the health

problems of someone they know,

then stop. The driver methodically

closes and locks his black change box,

takes his lunch in its paper bag,

folds his beaded seat comforter

under his arm and leaves to speak

to the uniformed man in the white ute

who will become our driver

when they have both done chatting

and nodding and passing the time of day.

The passivity of children

in the back seats stares out of windows.

Then, another curbed roundabout,

another drained swamp, another turn-off

from the destination through land

just cleared of forest and koala,

now decorated with surveyors’ pegs.

A derelict mess drifts by

of concrete holiday apartments that

the inexorable dunes are repossessing;

and then another post-modern Toy-Town

retail centre with its improbable spire

and its singular icons:

the Giant Skittle, the Golden Arches.





Sarah Day

Sarah Day’s latest books, Tempo and Towards Light (Puncher & Wattmann, 2015, 2018), were shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s and Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Awards.

More by Sarah Day ›

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