Ruby Slippers

by Kate Garkut

I woke and meandered along the yellow brick road
where taunting straw-men hid in trees.

Are you a woman who whiles away the hours
daydreaming about the world beyond the rainbow?

Don’t answer!
And don’t ask questions
croaked a parrot
botoxed into rictus.

Come inside my cage
within a cage and lock the gate
My fashionable rules will fix you
and my high walls will keep us safe.

I don’t need fixing
And certainty is built of lies.
I want to twirl in ruby thought
and grasp the colour of other roads.

Let’s sip the cup of friendship
My grace has dulled
and I can hear your unshed tears.

We will eat curiosity
and feed imaginations
Empathy is a solvent
I need more too.

We will soak in it’s fragrance
until we sparkle
and fly over the Emerald City
where the defenders
of straight lines and hierarchies live.

Where shame is strong
and understanding 
and the maze of life ends
in an office stamp.

This poem was inspired by The Wizard of Oz. I wrote it during Sydney’s Mardi Gras after seeing a pair of size 14 Ruby Slippers in a shop window. In a nutshell, life is short and there is more than one road to take. 

Kate grew up on the edge of Canberra when it was still a small, albeit well-groomed town. Despite being small, libraries and art galleries were abundant and Kate spent her youth exploring both. After leaving school, and despite aspirations of studying art and writing, she studied nursing. Though she had diverged from her passions, she was grateful for the nursing experiences and the privilege of being a part of people’s lives in times of sickness or tragedy.

With her two children fully grown, Kate has returned to creating. She currently lives in the NSW Hunter Valley and enjoys photography, gardening and reading, especially when her husband John, and cat Clementine, are by her side.

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