Julie Maclean

Two Australian Poems

Simpson dingo girl

safe inside your canvas dreaming
of the red track westward across the dunes

the lean shape-shifter   with toes of a dancer
foxtrots the fringe        camp follower
nose to the north   she takes the shape of
a desert grass    spinifex dry
same pale yellow    same drift as the wind

it’s then you daub the ochre   the black
white for the star in the eye   insinuate
a dark shadow   minimal    abstract perhaps

next morning the palette licked clean

Souvenir

Thank you for sending us Oprah,
We’re going to Australia!

Austria? Austria? They’d never heard of us
tucked away like a curling stamp in the corner of
a Dear John letter

What would Jimmy Cook have to say
in his crotch-tight pants, silk frock coat
his dandy wig, drinking coconut juice

out of a shell, gifting mirrors to women
with spears and stories to tell

so they could see their own souls,
while we looked the other way

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