Skipping Pepper

A rope tapped and the ground spat dust up.
Not everyone could weave a tomboy stitch
while skipping pepper. She could manage it, that girl
who spent recess time shifting rhythms, shut
within the turning circle of her world.
SALT – the rope slapped slowly, shoes
stamped ‘Kromhyde’ in the dirt.
MUSTARD – plaits and tomboy bobbed, socks slipped
and corrugated, feet beat faster.
VINEGAR – the spitting quickened, turners’ hands
formed blurring curves. The tempo changed to
PEPPER – dust hung, the rope lost focus and the yard
slowed, paused, slapped flies, sneered, buried envy and
resumed inflicting interrupted pain.

A friend from there called yesterday. It seems
she‘s still successful – moved of course – well, hell,
who wouldn’t – lives near Clare – her husband runs
the Elders office and the R.S.L. —
family grown, both daughters married. Sons? Well, one
a disappointment, hairy Left and she’s
state delegate for something Liberal so
with weight and other things she has her problems. He
believed I wouldn’t recognise her now.
I wondered if it really matters. I
still recognise her then and always will.
Although her feet beat dirt to dust inside
a yard that’s moving out to memory’s edge,
her face is still.

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