1980’s roadtrip poem – the Australia series


At the terminal the coach heaves,
swallows me and my every possession
You said “goodnight, not goodbye.”

We thunder down the highway –
three days to Ayers Rock

I begin to unravel you and me;
unpick the horrors of what we did
and I see nothing but an emotional landscape
and when I reach Adelaide
angular, flowered, calm city
my accent still marks me out 
and nobody shares these harsh pillows. 

We skirt the Flinders Ranges.
Grey bushes break up the red stony soil
and lone houses break up the hours.

The water pipeline follows the road for hundreds of miles
and far away at Stony Point where you worked
a fire is burning

No doubt the sharks are breeding now.