Poetry by Mark Roberts

CADOGAN PLACE, ORANGE, 1992

Linda and I drove up to visit Mill in our little yellow Mazda.

Not really a country car we stood out when we stopped

in Bathurst for coffee. Not even local students would

drive such a funny car. Mill was living 

alone in Cadogan Place, Ida and Tom were both dead 

and she was virtually blind. But she remembered

everything – where the sugar and milk was,

how to wash dirty cups and plates and how

the ship cut through a storm on the way to Sydney

when she twelve. She made us tea and offered

us Madeira cake that her friend Carol had brought

over the day before. She brought out old photo albums

and counted out the pages to where she knew

the images where. The bakery in Devon where

she grew up. Her parents in Sydney. My grandmother’s

wedding. An aerial photo of the farm taken just after

the war. We drank more tea and she told us of how

she buried the photos and letters on the farm before

leaving, she can’t remember exactly where. They

belonged there she said, they couldn’t leave, they

were part of that place and would mean nothing

in the town. She cooks us an early dinner. Lamb

chops and mashed potatoes. Everything is done

by touch and feel. She has been doing this for decades.

I don’t want to leave. I know this represents

a conclusion but we have a dog waiting

for dinner back in Sydney so we say our goodbyes.

We say that we will see her again soon and how

well she looks. She kisses us both and tells

Linda how pleased she is to have meet her.

I drive slowly down Byng Street towards

the train line. It starts getting dark as

we drive past Bowen Terrace.

About the contributor

Mark Roberts is a writer, critic and publisher based in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. He co-edits the online journal Rochford Street Review and, with Linda Adair, runs Rochford Press. His work has been widely published in magazines and journals in Australia and overseas. His latest collection, Concrete Flamingos, was published by Island Press in 2016.

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