Essentially Human

By | 1 February 2014
In the Southern Highlands I think I’ve made a friend on the ground. She tells me the baby inside her has not moved. Her husband doesn’t know how not to smile anymore. The baby is dead but she does not know this yet. It is three months later before she shows me the photo she carries in her wallet like a Victorian lady. It looks already born somewhere else with a new name. In between, murder has sat in the road at my neighbour’s crossings and spared one save his leg and a mother at least one son. She makes dolls to keep her in the house, to stop her from crossing her own road. Now she too keeps a silent husband. Before I leave I will spend a night in the spotless pub with fine glass on the floor. For those who know the meaning of sound in the silent town—the way of glass in my steps, the shots saved for ducks at night, the dolls dancing on the clothes line, the wind in the dresses of the missing girls—disappearances mean discipline.

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