Out here the highway starts with reassurance
but soon will dump its drivers on rough dirt,
washboard roads to unfenced silence
an aftermath of dust.
Passing drivers lift a finger
knowing this red country can
destroy, a landscape simplified
to sky, earth, air and fire
but no water: the braided rivers run with sand.
The road leads on deeper into myth
towards fear in bareness, heat,
flat in all the compass points
so when a destination comes,
presents a campground, toilets, gorge,
the green of hidden water, palms,
a tiny spill of people, who’ve also driven here,
it’s like redemption.