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  • Published 20240507
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-95-5
  • Extent: 203pp
  • Paperback, ePub, PDF, Kindle compatible

NOT IN THE middle of a paddock, but quite near great flooded gums that have managed to resist being knocked down, though full of leaf-­shimmering trepidation that their time will come. The creek still dry. Not in the middle of the paddock but close to an eastern firebreak, the heap of bulldozed trees set ready to go – an incipient but aching bonfire. And placed among the tangled limbs and sad dry foliage, a dining-­room set of a large extendable leafed table – opened out in full regalia, resonating a deep hardwood heartiness – and eight wooden chairs, arranged at odd angles but in such a way that a seat could be pulled up to dine at the table, its legs extended like roots into the combustible mass.

He caught this forlorn scene as he drove past, and it continued to bother him as he collected parts for his brush-cutter from the town hardware store. He hadn’t intended to drive back home that way – an obscure loop he took hoping to see an eagle’s nest that wasn’t there – but felt compelled. Maybe the farmer had already torched it, and the dining-­room set was already a charred relic. That table and chairs were precisely like those in the dining room of the older couple he’d spent so much time with in his early youth. He was sure they were one and the same. What were the chances? Next to none. But they bothered him, and he didn’t want to think of them burning.

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