He did look a bit like a council worker, that large 4WD, full-gloss and white,
intent in expression there in the driver’s seat, clipboard an imagined accessory.
I’d scoped him already, sitting, as I pulled into a squash of spilled potting mix
strewn in the muddy clay beneath a silver wattle, not flowering this time of year.
The river was a cleaned-up rush of new water over sedge-grass, brief days only
since the rain stopped, and I wanted the lush grass from the bank, ripped by hand,
Stuffed in bags to feed the animals. But flaying around, I couldn’t get a grip, feeling
a bit stupid and clumsy with the viney tough rhizomes, resistant, unwieldy, and mud
In the bag, on my hands and clothes, walking around for a better grip, maybe further
over here, and what’s he looking at? found myself confronted, suddenly staring
At collapsed grotesque bones of an animal carcass, with all the obvious possibilities
running through my mind. A girl? No, sacrum and hips are too narrow. Large dog
Or a pig maybe, or a small cow, with all that thick hair? He’s coming over to me,
hunching his tallness to my diminution, stands beside me in the African grass:
‘Two girls were here, before. Doing the same thing. As you.’ Also getting grass?
An unspoken assent. So what do I think? Do I suppose? Well no I don’t
know, I have to leave actually, I’m afraid of contagion too, pondering who’s spread
this stuff around in the grass, I can’t feed it to my animals now… ‘There’s more
Here’. He shows me badly decomposed bodies slumped, slimy after heavy rain,
large bones without flesh, and the thick mats of hair, skieved off, shaved, not fixed
To leather. I finally settle on a Shetland pony, saddest aspect the clean saw lines
through hind leg bones, not far beneath narrow hips of a four-leg standing grazer,
Just too old for the cold winter, sidestepping thoughts of a horror kill, only some lazy
farmer, with nowhere to dispose of a carcass. But why a Shetland? It was the hair.