Side by side on her long verandah,
we gaze out across the paddocks,
grazed by the horses and ‘roos.
Gin in hand,
her eyes focussed years distant
“My first homicide call-out…
And her stories rise,
their darkness flowing into the evening light,
as the gin flows through our glasses,
and I wonder how one person
can hold this much
As she talks
the shadows of the roos lengthen,
banding the gilded paddocks with black,
until all the shadows merge.
We adjourn inside,
for homemade dumpling
her three-legged dog
snuggled between us on the couch.
I know his story already –
tortured by drunks with a nail gun –
one of her many rescues.
Scarred, but another survivor.
People like my neighbour, and others in various uniforms, on various frontlines, protect sheltered people (like me) in so many ways – physically, psychologically. And I am so grateful for that, and in awe of the burdens that they carry.