Saturday Nights at the Myola – Jena Woodhouse

Tonight she can forget
the phrase “grass widow”
as she walks to town,
the sundown at her back
and at her side the child,
the little girl, her legs
already tired, who knows
she’d better not complain.

They wait behind the paying patrons
queueing at the old Myola
picture show, for Mr Jamieson
to catch the woman’s eye
and usher them inside to back
row seats, just as the lights
are dimmed. The child can sleep,
head pillowed on her mother’s lap.
The woman can escape
the sting of penury.

As the credits roll, she wakes
the child, whose legs protest again
throughout the long walk home
on gravel shoulders of the unlit road.
Sometimes her mother hums
a movie theme beneath the swarms of stars,
or smiles up at the solitary moon.