The road back home is long
full of bends and turns
kangaroos in the pines come dawn and dusk,
the only roadhouse on the way has crusty potato cakes.
I spent my teenage years
longing for the day that it would be announced
We’re going back home
so I could have my old life back.
I wanted that life,
one filled with friends and neighbours,
a steep hill we would race the billy-cart down,
beaches in summer and bushwalks in winter.
The seasons back home were clearly marked –
only by pool season and
the changing of the advertising banners on each roundabout
and whales coming, and then leaving again.
I grew up though and knew you could live one place
and love another with your whole heart,
freely skipping over for a weekend, then going home,
back to the ordinary life for another day at school.
When I was old enough I moved away
and the road home was now 700 clicks long,
still a trip I would do, in a heartbeat,
think nothing of hopping over the border at the drop of a hat.
Then someone told me a rumour when this all started
that the borders would be shut
and I didn’t believe it, because, how? There are a million ways
to cross an invisible line between here and there.
But the line is visible, and it is real.
I think of the beach where I played as a little girl,
and where my mother played also, and her father too.
I wonder if it misses me the way I so often long for it.
The highway may be full of potholes
the drive often plagued by roos and rain
but oh how I longed for that day soon
when I could go back home again.
Lisa Birch lives in Adelaide with her family. She has recently completed her Masters of Creative Writing at Tabor College. She is an avid romance reader, a Girl Guide and loves a good op shop. She has also been published in ‘Pure Slush,’ ‘Tales from the Upper Room’ and a number of ‘Stories of Life anthologies.’ More about Lisa and her work can be found here.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.