Maxine Beneba Clarke
Home to Biloela

it chilled the blood


             it felt different, this time

when the deportation vans arrived



they lived next door

         and were just like us:

he worked the abattoir

(bloody tough)


the wife: smiling away

         when her trolley passed yours


always stopped for a chat

                      and said g’day

in the cereal aisle

                      down the iga



and their little girls,

                     they were sunshine rays




         the kids’d been over their house

to play



couldn’t have taken nicer people

               ’s what all the biloela locals’d say



it feels different, this time:


this whole town

              we watched that family




the little one

toddling down at the park


barefoot and cheeky

                     and always laughing

            across the coarse green




for the love of god

             it feels different, this time



we can’t send them back

                               we know them

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of The Hate Race and Foreign Soil. She is a winner of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Poetry.

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