The Book of Drought is about dried up waterholes
and Roo plagues;
the cost of freight
and the ripples of rural suicide.
The edges of the pages are all burnt
and it smells like gum leaves and diesel.
The cover is badly cracked,
the dust cover torn and faded
and the spine is split from dry lightning.
You can only put the book down at night
and the whole time you’re reading it
you’re just waiting for the bit where it rains.
The bookmark is an old frayed stock whip
and someone’s jotted roadkill through the whole thing.
When you turn the pages a flock of Galahs or Cockatoos rises out
and every chapter ends with a holy flood.
The story is an adaptation of another drought.
The main character is time
and the moral of the story is resilience.
My father gave me this book.
My mother read it to me as a child,
and they had to borrow deep from the bank just to keep it.
One day I’ll hand it onto my children
and they’ll write their names on its horizon
and fell their tears into its dust,
then they’ll bury me somewhere
between the wild lilies blooming
and the creek bed running dry.
Benjamin W Wild (c) 2019
Mudgee Valley Writers, More Than Words (Winner, 2019)