'St Marys, Tas' by Zenobia Frost | States of Poetry QLD - Series Two

It’s a town with a veggie patch
in the cop shop yard.

Outside the grocer, with shelves
of tins and faded VHS tapes,
a boy on a scooter asks,
Are you looking for wi-fi? as if
he’s bootlegged some to sell.

In the café we bemoan the goat-track
we drove in on: the Elephant Pass.
Swaying huge and daft,
the van was elephant enough
mid-slalom to have me swigging benzos.

The sweetshop lady, who hand-makes
the fudge, the jam, the knitted toys, the doilies,
says, You’re set up at the racecourse.
It’s not a question. We wonder if
the tomato-tending officers will catch us
rifling in the ghostly stables of the off season.

She’s straight-faced. That’s where I take my walks.
I saw your caravan this morning, rocking away.
Like a rocking horse. We buy blackberry jam
and back out, found wanting.

That morning, it had been the cold
that woke us. We’d turned on the gas stove
for warmth, and for a little while, watched our breath
fill the space like fog inspecting the empty stables,
the whole van on a low boil over the frost.

Zenobia Frost