Poem

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

 

 

shit,

         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

          grow

 

 

the little one

toddling down at the park

 

barefoot and cheeky

                     and always laughing

            across the coarse green

buffalo

 

 

for the love of god

             it feels different, this time

 

 

we can’t send them back

                               we know them

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.