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Woman Wearing a Hairnet

by
May 2007, no. 291

Woman Wearing a Hairnet

by
May 2007, no. 291

Hooded eyes, eyelashes thinning, she tailgates a semi,
keeping up with him in case she breaks down.
The truckie has her measure in his rear-view mirror –
an old Falcon tracking the loneliness between Horsham and Koroit.
Wide verges, scoria tracks radiating back to chimneyed farmhouses,
the country she passes through steadies her like a needle:
years of croquet, bowls and a Depression habit of not spending.
She sighs for the woman on the truck’s mud flaps
and the boyfriends she could never marry.
Her hands swim around the steering wheel
as a diminishing list of names falls from her lips.
A carrier of stories, the lowdown on brothers and sisters,
she pushes the semi along chipped bitumen
towards her younger brother’s seventieth. From a distance
it is difficult to see what is holding this freighted load,
as if one woman’s memories could keep a truckie honest,
an unlikely duo marrying the district.
She heels the accelerator
and with a flick of the wrist he waves her on.