THE PASTURE IS dry. Dust on her boots, burrs in her socks, sweat under her breasts, neck, pits, crotch. She longs for a breeze, but that’s why she’s walking, running, to create her own wind.
Fast, faster. Don’t look back.
Rock to rock, put distance between them. Put space behind. Time.
The cattle are nowhere to be seen. Roos in the shade, laid out like roasts. Her heart beats into its cage, still young, too soft too weak to be so hard. So full of bone and gristle.
She thinks of her mother, the cool-air ocean, the world she left behind for this. For him. Open paddocks and scattered trees. The way things used to be, before the drought, the dust, the cracked-up soil.
The creek is dry. She jumps the rocks and the jolt and motion make space in her bones, loosening the meat of her. This body, her own. She hardly knows it.