Stephanie Green
Once I tended sheep, gathering them in through the wide metal gate, as the dogs roused the stragglers on either side and white clouds lounged against the summer sky. One uncle creaked the gate shut behind us and climbed onto his motorbike, gripping the handles with his calloused hands. The other uncle walked with me, calling out softly and clapping his hands. We pushed the soft creatures with our clapping along the track and animal words came to me in the sounds of their bleating, words of thirst and hunger, harassment and complaint. Somewhere in the midst of the mob I heard other voices, from the past, the long ago sounds of my great-grandmother mourning her trousseau, her youth and her treasures stained by time, my grandmother in her apron longing for the city, and my great aunt with her office ledger wishing for love, and my mother calling out to the women who stayed behind. But the past slipped away with the clouds. The dogs barked their reports and the uncles called them to get away to the back of the mob, herding the sheep to the sweet soothing grass of the low paddock where they nipped quietly, only wanting to be left alone. Then I heard them all speaking together, seeking order and comfort, the sheep and the dogs and uncles, the invisible women, trying to put things in order, to keep matters contained, until the inevitable moment of our return.

Stephanie Green is a widely published Australian writer, and an Adjunct with Griffith University. Her creative writing is published in various literary magazines, creative anthologies and scholarly journals including StylusLit, Axon, Text, Meniscus, Not Very Quiet, Burrow and Griffith Review. She has published a volume of collected prose poems, Breathing in Stormy Seasons (Recent Work Press, 2019) and a selection of short stories, Too Much too Soon (Pandanus 2006).



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