David Burchall: ‘The Nullarbor Plain’

The Nullarbor Plain

The Nullarbor is the treeless plain
Endless red desert on one side
Notorious oceans to the south
Kookaburra mocks at dawn

The bitumen road so long
Rabbits die at white centre line
Shimmering heat mirrors of death
Ancient brown rocks turned to iron

Ants as big as snails
Build red dirt shrines to themselves
Dwarfing spindly shrubbery
Disappear in secrecy in the tombs

A woman watches her children play
At a lonely roadhouse café and fuel
Indefatigable generator cackles in the desert
Many disappearances pass by here

Night, the silence is eerie
Diesel motor approaching for an hour
Big lights, a roar, rush of wind drifts past
Scattering nothing but red dust in a cloud

The water is all underground here
Except for this tiny tea tree creek
Where rusted civilisation, home
to cars and trucks came here to perish

The last store for one thousand kilometres
And a feeling you might disappear too
People never travel this road at night
Treeless flat plains of spinifex and rust

David Burchall

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