Kumbilor – hill in my Country – Jeanine Leane


I come back and see a hill
barren and cleared of trees. Sectioned by fences
like a checkerboard of games won and lost.
Only the rocks anchored so deep they cannot
be moved remain.
A dry creek-bed – thirsty for a long time
now. Faded stones no longer shining sharp
worn and rounded by time passed.

I close my eyes. Fences disappear.
Bare-foot mop-headed children – hatless
in the heat of the high sun search for
a slumber of koalas, listen for a
warbling of magpies laugh louder than
a cackle of kookaburras.

The children run. Scramble high on
granite sentinels.
‘This is my wild horse!’ shrieks one.
‘And this is mine!’ yells the other.
They ride and ride and ride a
thousand miles standing still.
Sun blazes on quartz crystal makes
amethyst haze.

I scrunch my eyes tighter.
There’s my Aunty on the creek flats
walking through parched grass
towards the hill. She calls us.
Time to come home. We start to run
arms open to meet her.

We’re almost there – nearly
touching her.
My eyes hurt. I open them.
She’s gone!