Chattering and shoving, they mob the counter,
from hip-high to shoulder-high,
clutching their pocket money and battling with indecision.
Those at the back are deep in trade negotiations:
How much to feed the chooks?
How much to sweep the stables?
Deals are done, agreements are ratified,
and cakes, finger-buns and milkshakes are acquired.
Then the mob spills out onto the verandah,
brown paper bags in hand, watched by the magpies and mynahs
who line the railing, eyeing every bite with jealousy.
Inside, the parents cluster,
talking rainfall, feed prices, and school fundraisers,
or gasping at snippets of local gossip.
Outside the treats are soon devoured,
games of tag ensue along the verandah
and girls swing upside down on the railings,
squealing as their skirts fall over their heads.
A ring forms around a drain, heads down,
a green and yellow flower, quivering,
giggling each time the frog below them croaks.
Then they scatter like petals,
carried by the breeze to the next game.
But inside the coffees are soon finished;
the price of feed has been lamented,
and agreement on the bake sale reached.
Parents nod their goodbyes,
children are shout and wave theirs.
And so the mob is dispersed
into dusty station wagons and utes,
where the dogs wait, impassive, pink tongues lolling.
And at Sutton bakery, the Friday rush over,
the crumbs are swept up, inside by the counter-girls,
and outside by the patient magpies and mynahs.