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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 7, Number 1, March 2013

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Shona Bridge
Wamberal, New South Wales, Australia


From Ironbark Shade

At the station I let the engine idle. Leaning into the bonnet, my emotions churn. Perhaps it's love—this girl is all I've got left of him. Perhaps it's the clenched fist of past disappointment; the cruel, acid reminder: he's gone from both of our lives.

I take a deep breath; recall her face; strong vertical lines and that sidelong glance–a weapon. What can I possibly offer? How can I counter such a fortress, such an impenetrable husk of loss and detachment?

Her city train arrives, passengers move along the platform. There she is. Tight black jeans, the concavity of adolescence. Instinct moves me forward—I let my arms take their fill.

I think of him as we drive back to Murridoo. My son. Her father. He loved this road through banksias, red gums, peppermints. An eagle circles overhead and something shifts inside me; bringing her here, it's the right thing to do. A few minutes later Toby barks, runs to us from ironbark shade.

the dog finds
her lap, licks laughter
onto her face

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