Suburban Deer

1 February 2018

Deer Park in Melbourne’s outer west, 1990

Mediterranean columns against brown brick. Kids squabble
about whose turn it is to hide in their game. Careful gardens.

Pebbled strips. A terracotta-skinned girl carrying colour
pencils in a Barbie case, skipping past the cream, closed

lids of roller shutters. Low powerlines. A disruption
of gumtrees. The slanted, round scribbles of thirteen-

year-old romance on the bus stop. A cross atop plain brick,
interrupted by stained glass. An unspoken grudge. A lined,

slow-moving lady in black clutches her Sunday missal
and envelope of coins, a whiff of provolone and bleach

on her fingers. Neat, creased shoes. Broken glass. Holding
a rosary, a parishioner spits on the steps. Old men gather

like seagulls at the shopping centre bench, avoiding their wives’
gossip and wiped-down kitchens. They talk of the rising price

of fruit and the replacement of the parish priest. A measured
greeting at the crossing. Flowers tied to a pole. Twitchy kids

leave their marks using souped up cars like paint brushes,
in the earliest part of the morning when the roads are clear.

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