by Margaret Bradstock
“Hit a new depressive low, ended up in hospital for a week. Slowly improving, not answering the phone….” He seemed the sort of guy to travel the future with, the backroads, the byways and the highways, something like tumbleweeds gathering momentum, as each day passed, the wind warm in their hair. They went up north to camp on his block of land, meet the relatives. He rode his motor-bike, the two dogs pillion, she drove. Photographs arrived, the dogs running free at the foot of the mountain, him playing drums at his local, upbeat. When they returned, she’d keep long-distance love alive. COVID-19 in full play, the world at a crossroads, not being able to visit was bad. Next email they’d broken up. Close down the phones, lock out the day, conjure sleep. Maybe it was social distancing, or perhaps he’d just wanted a fling.
Margaret Bradstock has eight published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize)and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Editor of Antipodes (2011) and Caring for Country (2017), Margaret won the Banjo Paterson Poetry Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Her latest collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, is Brief Garden (2019).