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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 1, March 2019

Marilyn Humbert
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Rite of Passage

It's my tenth birthday; Mum and Dad have given permission for me to walk home from school with a friend. My school is two-teacher, rural, and in the wheat belt of western Victoria. It's the final day of term, the beginning of the six-week Christmas holidays. Mum doesn't know my friend is already away visiting her cousins. Walking home by myself, I take the shortcut across the wheat field to the old gumtree in the middle of the paddock. It's shady and inviting under leafy spreading branches. I choose a protruding root to rest on.

wind in waves
across the ripening crop
a swishing spell
half asleep in shade

I don't hear the rustling of feet . . .

grade six boys
chase me
across the field—
an old crow
follows my flight



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