Twenty years ago last August
they had me running down the platform,
howling in that flannel dress,
those two from the ‘Protection' Board,
the woman with the narrow mouth,
the bloke there with his suit and glasses
who wished that he was somewhere else
and Jeanie screaming for me still,
not likely to let up till Sydney.
Talking here with Sharon now,
I often get a little jealous,
the way she's still got hers together
despite that white bloke shooting through.
Five of them all told, she has.
I try to tell her now and then
‘Go on back there to your kids.
Don't leave 'em with Janene
even if she is a "marvel".
You never know just when the Board
might come back snooping round.'
Today, she'll hang around till five
then wobble home at last.
My Jeanie would be twenty-four.
I wonder if I'd know her,
working for some stingy boss man
out there west of Bourke.
Or maybe, just like Sharon here,
she's got her little batch of five.
And be down drinking in the park?
They'd be my grandkids, eh?
Or then again the whiter side
she picked up from her dad
might just have let her jump the bar
to ‘high society',
house-with-lawn and man-with-job,
passing as Italian.
I'm sure we could've met again
if only I had really tried;
stood up to them gubba blokes
and kept on with me questions,
‘squeaky wheel will get the oil'
and all that sort of thing.
I'm pretty sure she can't forgive me,
letting her be dragged away
off into that half-arsed mission
way down there in Sydney.
Or maybe she won't want to know me,
drinking in the park,
her snow-white and la-di-da
and me here on the skids, she'd reckon.
My mob all call me Auntie May though.
I've done my bit. I've been around.
I've wiped the noses, dried the tears,
mothering my cousin's kids
and even cousins' cousins.
To them I'm still old Auntie May -
and they don't seem to care too much
if Auntie May might smell of grog
and cry a little now and then
with no real explanation.
‘What the trouble, Auntie May?'
They know I'd never try to hit them,
half crazy with a stick.
Auntie May is good for hugs,
especially when the going's rough.
I won't stay on too long today though.
I'm not a drinker really but...
I wouldn't want to leave them either.
They're all my family now.
Level 4, Griffith Graduate Centre
South Bank, Campus – Griffith University
Sidon Street, South Bank 4101 Australia
South Bank Campus, Griffith University
PO Box 3370, South Brisbane 4101, Australia
Phone: +61 7 3735 3071
Fax: +61 7 3735 327