Poem

Maxine Beneba Clarke
Ricochet

baked redbrick,

   in the darwin heat

dry palms whisper,

   in the stifling breeze

 

bloke says

               mate, we were sure it was fireworks

 

ruddy face shock-blank,

   mouth set grim

 

 

               yeah-nah, never thought this’d happen here ay

stunned, swatting the blowies away

 

 

young one, to the side, packs a rollie

fingers trembling,

   like death’s walked this way

another:

               i was in me undies

 

as shock settles in breathless, wide-eyed

 

ricochet,

    off cracked motel concrete

slaughter stains,

pinot-dark on the carpet

 

                saw him rage from room to room

(to the camera, grief-stricken, alarmed)

 

four dead

 

               it was bloody roll-of-the-dice

 

               thought we’d sorted this

               back at port arthur

 

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