Barmah, Murray River Camp, 1996 (Neil Boyack)

Verity La Heightened Talk

A boar’s head is mounted on the wall
high above the pool table
alongside record breaking cod, fresh water crays
Barmah Pub ceiling fans chop the hot air and the cob webs
moving the black hair
of the aboriginal women playing pool below
scars on their faces
beneath the heaviest February sweat
a pink line through the lips from the handlebars of a bike
a pink line on the forehead from a submerged log
the smiling, larger woman has red stilettos
the wiry woman bare feet
pool cues as guitars to ACDC
cutting in at volume
from the sun stained jukebox
their kids in the corner with
crayons and lemonade
searching for space
in old colouring books
through the window and over the road
the river grooves the earth
so humid, the birds are dead
only cicadas live
an aboriginal man lays on a patchwork car bonnet
beneath a block of river gums
instructing kids on how to kick the footy
sipping beer
loving things