Holiday House

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The Austin A-40 called ‘Michael’ always made it
with the five of us, ports, mosquito nets,
the car floor heating till it burnt our feet
and the dachshund in grave peristalsis slung on our knees.

Mum always jammed her own cutlery under the seat springs —
when the dog tried to wriggle to heaven we had visions
of sliced Windsor never blood.

Once over Narrowneck
everything seemed white and golden. The car nosed left
at the hotel with porthole windows
its brick cupola like a diver’s helmet
out of the Children’s Encyclopedia.

Parked over our grease-spot from last year
we raced to be first to catch sand beetles,
‘keeping the place neat’.
At night in our beds, on damp sheets,
hair sticky with salt, sand on our feet, mozzie nets
down against Scotch Greys,
we heard the sea at high tide.
It boomed, it slurred up the beach. It whispered in space.
It sniffed at the dunes and climbed our dream windows.

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