Highly recommended: Missing home

Far from her country, her home.

Missing the smell of the gum tree.

The sound of the cattle truck and the distinct cow smell

That lingers long after it passes through town.

None of her mob here in the tropics.


Mary’s slight frame is changing,

She is belly up, too swollen to leave.

Even if Mary wanted to.


Frank is fifteen years older.

He likes his woman to know her place.

Mary’s fierce craving for love

Allow her to forget Frank’s beatings.


They make their home in the tropics, close to many Ilan people.

Frank feels at ease with his mob and his woman

Smoking and charging on.


Mary and Frank sleep in his beat up Holden

Unable to rent them a house

Mary didn’t really mind.

She could be alone and enjoy time away

From the biggest mob and

Many jarjums eager for her attention.


Sissy Anna is always watching.

She knows Frank beats Mary.

Mary is too big now and slow.

Struggling with the heat.

Not wanting to sleep in the Holden.

Unable to hide her lonely face and tired eyes.


Sissy Anna reaches out.

Her invite for Mary and bub to live with her

Leaves Mary so grateful.

The first months of Mary’s new bub are a happy time.

Frank finds joy in this new baby.

Sissy Anna is happy too for her friend.

But Frank’s demons erupt again.


Soon Mary fiercely craves

The smell of the gum tree and

Longs to hear the sound of

The cattle truck drive through town.



Image: ‘Imperial ashtray’ / flickr

Kristine Ellis

Kristine Ellis is connected to the Wakka Wakka people and to Kiriri (Hammond Island, Torres Strait). She currently works in Indigenous education and has a keen desire to create and express herself through writing. She enjoys being with family and friends, as well as theatre, festivals and food.

More by Kristine Ellis ›

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