It’s a shame about the bright fluorescent light rectangles
reflected in its glass
with those clear images of blue water containers
on a shelf above the staff’s food cupboards
(for emergencies like earthquakes and bushfire).
No matter where I stand, there’s the reflection
of a door, two fridges, chipped cream walls, myself.
Behind those distracting elements, a moment in time —
one eternal moment in Australian time —
draws me to change focus.
I’ve been here before: trotting head down with the kelpies
behind a mob of unshorn bums and bleats —
through the calf-high yellow grass
perhaps swishing a stick, dropped
by one of these shaggy tired gums —
awake enough to step around other fallen slim branches
horse manure, rabbit holes and fresh sheep pebbles.
I’ve been here before
but not as the rider of a plump palomino
leading its piebald companion
into the crowded trees where a ghostly drift —
white dust soft as silken powder —
daily stops my eye and thought.
Annie, dead from cancer these two years
donated this — her father’s masterpiece —
to an unworthy wall in a workplace kitchen.
I think of that dust as her spirit arising from
the sharp hooves of sheep
pursued by a man, perhaps her father, driving
the kelpies and himself towards her
towing the second horse
to bring her back.
Publication of your online response is subject to the Medical Journal of Australia's editorial discretion. You will be notified by email within five working days should your response be accepted.