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Mercedes Webb-Pullman

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Ruatoria

 

On a clothesline in a backyard

bright yellow sheets flap

like flags of sun, violent

against the dun-dry land.

 

Here my second father was born,

in these hills he worked

as shepherd, stockman,

timber cutter, shearer.

 

He left the land for the city.

All his life denied his blood,

died a lonely stranger.

 

This child flying a yellow kite

in the main street, these people

in the kai cart with their fry bread

could be family.

 

We smile,

they smile, we’re all hiding

behind our eyes; maybe

we’re trying to make them think

we’re happy; maybe they are too.

 
 
 
Mercedes Webb-Pullman’s poems and stories have appeared in online journals, anthologies, e-books, and print since 2008. After 40 years away she now lives in New Zealand. She misses the fish and chips of childhood, steam rising from a hole torn in the newspaper wrapping, defining Friday nights.

 

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