As if he can’t believe the heat either
a crow, glossy as an oil slick
staggers under the supermarket awning
with his beak hanging open.
I shop for things we might require:
Arnotts Assorted Creams, 40 fish fingers,
5 litres of milk, yoghurt by the bucket.
In the carpark my husband runs the air-conditioning
the baby lolls sideways in his seat
and the girls play animal vegetable or mineral.
Una is a letterbox
Fred is a potato cake
Una is a pancake in the shape of a dead guy.
At the cash register I run back for dishwashing liquid.
A woman says sternly into the telephone
hooked up to the loudspeaker:
there is a Nissan Patrol with a dog inside
and no windows open if you are in the store
please attend to your animal.
I walk out into the sweltering carpark of the late afternoon.
This human world is melting into the hills.
We drive into the glare.
I join the game. They ask me: Are you an animal?
No. Are you a vegetable? Yes.
What sort of vegetable? they shriek
Mum? What sort of a vegetable are you?
Una asks are you crumby?
Laughing I look back at their laughing faces.
We drive past cows in their fields.
I am an apple pie.
The long day grows hotter.
Something is terribly wrong.