Last Drinks in Adelaide
Kathryn Hummel (University of South Australia, Australia)
It’s a town that oppresses everywhere but near the sea.
So we toast the leaving of one
who is always going and coming again.
Near the pier where Pip got kicked (we think)
by a bogan out-of-towner,
we take in our drinks; at the same time the sea.
Beyond the verandah the dusty blue sky
is split at the horizon by a burnished band:
Bel’s outside there with her Benson and beer.
Orange hair crackling under the sodium glare,
with the backdrop of a bluestone wall
she might just be a goddess filling the sky.
Whatever has been under these plastered arches
is now just past. We talk about kung-fu,
nothing to do with real life or what faces us tomorrow.
Bel’s wisdom encourages each subsequent sip,
Slow on the uptake with your drink there, love.
Just present, with the silhouettes of Norfolk pines, and arches.
And everything else that makes up our home:
playground, public dunnies, kiosk, lights of the harbour.
No-one else in front of us and few cars on the road.
A Monday night with cold beer in a cool breeze.
Our glasses don’t bead. The waves, coming as they ever do
to break over our silence, remind us of home.
Kathryn Hummel is a PhD candidate with the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia. Currently she is writing and researching autoethnography, drawing on her experiences of life and work in Bangladesh. Kathryn’s fiction and non-fiction, popular and academic writing has been published in Australia, the US, Nepal, Bangladesh, and India.