Thursday, September 06, 2007

She's crying for her country

By Adam Gibson ©

from the six-seat mail plane
she is gently lowered to tarmac,
two of us gripping under her arms
at the heartbreakingly soft flesh,
her eyes milky,

pure sky blue,
exactly as the world above which
she can't see but only sense.

Peter Tinker (pictured right)
is holding her other arm
and he says something in her ear
then she immediately raises
her soft brown face
to feel the sun on it
and starts a low burbling cry
but a smile is moving across her face
at the same time.

what's happened? i ask Peter,
he laughs, it's okay, he says, it's fine;
she's home after four months in hospital,
he says she's crying for the land under her feet,
he says she's crying for the spinifex,
crying for the big dog that lives at well 33,
crying for the dreaming man laying down at Bungabinni
after he tried to catch one of the seven sisters,
crying for the women's ground there,
she's crying for Kunawarratji and
for the bush tomato and the bush turkey,
crying for the fires over Dora Lake and the salt pans
and crying for the hills that tell all the stories.

we ease her over to a waiting
commodore station wagon
where, sitting in the back seat alone,
she now begins laughing loudly -
she's unable to walk or see
but she's giggling her head off
and at the same time still
she's crying for her country
she's crying for her country.

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