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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.
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.