Famous Reporter 17
- BRENDAN RYAN
- I stand with my father
- in the tyre marks of fire trucks
- looking across paddocks burnt
- Paddocks he has ploughed, raked,
- walked in his head, in his
- Wind-blown paddocks he has
scanned into memory.
- The same paddocks we have talked
- The past is scorched, but its
- rises through my workboots.
- My father shakes his head,
- scuffing his boots in the ashes
of a fence post,
- "You wouldn't credit
- A skinless calf hobbles from a
- whispering beneath tangled
- the husk of a strainer post.
- The strip of bush I explored as
- has been left in black slivers.
- There is a cemetery quiet my
- won't admit. He spits, rattles
- in his pockets, as smoke climbs
- off a new horizon.
- Behind us a bulldozer fills a
- with burnt cows. Their skin
- has been toasted the same grey
- Are they Jersey, Friesian, or
- They fall from the bulldozer's
bucket in clumps
- ten at a time, sideways,
- into place amongst the flies.
miss the hole
- and land broken-necked, half-in
- half-out, forcing the operator
- to scoop them up and start over
- A siren wails through charred
- lining Heathmarsh Rd.
- Beneath the dirt, tree roots and
- smoulder and glow. Everything
- we've ever leant against
- has been shelled and scattered.
- We walk back to the Valiant
- through paddocks without fences.
- The day rests between the hands
- of a melted clock, the search
for stray cattle,
- and back to back hits of the
60s, 70s, and 80s.
grew up on a dairy farm in Victoria, and is currently studying English at La Trobe