Dirt-road dystopia

My boots pursue a circle of torchlight,
toes catching its edge with each step.

Headlights come into view,
as scheduled.
I wave and step to the side,
then am startled by the uniform –
but I remember:

She is my neighbour.
She is my friend.

I hand over my bag,
and she grins at the meat and rice.
In return I get flour,
on its third exchange.

Trudging back up the hill
a rifle shot pierces the silence –
but it quickens my pulse,
and the wind stirring the leaves
echoes my rasping breath.

Turning in through the gate
I see, with relief,
flickering between the trees,
the welcoming lights of home.


This is in response to Eugie’s weekly prompt: “Neighbours”

…although I’m cheating because I actually wrote this a few months ago, when idiotic panic buying in response to COVID-19 had emptied supermarket shelves and suddenly a whole lot of basics were scarce.  My neighbour and I have always shared vegetables, preserves, baking, gin (okay, we don’t actually share gin, I just drink hers). But walking the km down the dirt road to meet her on her way home one night with a bag of toilet paper, meat and rice was pretty surreal. Especially with the odd rifle shot of some red-neck ‘roo shooters for a soundtrack. It was a good swap for a 20kg bag of flour though – much needed by those of us who were baking before COVID (just sayin’).  <mutter mutter> (bloody sour dough dilettantes…)


Filed under poem, rants

5 responses to “Dirt-road dystopia

  1. What an excellent reflection on how the virus has changed lives. I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to hear the rifle shot. Thank you so much for joining in.

    • Thanks for your kind comment. I’d never heard a gunshot before I moved out to the country, but ‘roo shooting is not uncommon out here and fox and rabbit shooting is done by a few of my more distant neighbours. So it was more an ominous sort of ambience than particularly scary. But COVID has had a general affect on how we feel about others – while it’s brought some neighbours and communities closer, there is also “othering”, and a general sense of threat.

  2. Pingback: “Neighbors” prompt participants – COBBLED CONTEMPLATIONS ~ Poetry, Etc; anotherkatewilson; Art, Photography and Poetry – Eugi's Causerie I

  3. Pingback: talking to N | anotherkatewilson

  4. Pingback: Eugi’s Weekly Prompt “Magic” July 27, 2020 – Eugi's Causerie I

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