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Bruny Island

We’re new here. Winter ’95. The French
experiment with bombs in the Pacific.

Our lives feel turbulent and full of signs: Postmodernism
doesn’t give a flying duck
– Richard Tipping.

“Frenchie!” the schoolyard call our younger son.
Trespass of the Sign – Kevin Hart.

One holiday, we cross by ferry
to an island even smaller than our own

Caution, Penguin Crossing!
to House Sophia.

Its huge Germanic dining hall
is full of cooking smells and kitchen sounds,

its wooden tables, high-backed chairs
await the guests that never come.

Just our family, still in coats and boots,
are gathered round its giant fireplace.

A wintry sun sets behind the hills of Tinderbox
across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

One child’s quietly reading about engines,
the other’s frantically dismantling a clock.

Somewhere in the background a radio drones –
“… the weather forecast. This is Monica Attard, for P.M.”

At night, high-pitched women’s voices
fill House Sophia’s passageways.

Or is that a dream? All night I lie awake –
Are we in Europe, or at war?

Anne Kellas is a Hobart-based poet. Her 3rd book, The White Room Poems, is due to be published by Walleah Press in 2015. She occasionally teaches poetry, most recently at the University of Tasmania.