Refinery Shadow

Family reunion brings us here,
where gum trees open onto two eternal flames
smoking up suburban Sunday sky.
Our park - the edge of our travel limits, sits
beside quiet street and under
the refinery's steady shadow.
Two swings, two slides, ancient eucalypts,
and where houses fence the park's perimeter, a hidden gate
opens while we picnic and out
pops a man's head, then a man,
up for a chat or to survey the scene.
Here for 45 years, he tells us, he's seen
the refinery grow and housing prices fall,
smelt and breathed it all,
would never leave, not even for Queensland.

I doubt we will come here again,
yet the man in the fence shuts the gate,
returns to his 45-year-old-home for home can grow wherever
we stop, open our bags and rest.
Home has been here before; has been contested; will be
here again.
Eucalypt skin carries its scars,
carries its stories and its hopes.
Our stories, our homes, are refined in the scarring,
will one day erupt in air purer than this.
One day, our homes will open their hands
and fold you into their scars.

Published by Matthew Pullar

Teacher, writer, blogger, husband, father, Christian. Living in Wyndham in Melbourne's west, on the land of the Kulin Nation. Searching for words to console and feed hearts and souls.

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