The second Dorothy Hewett Award for an unpublished manuscript will be announced at the 2017 Perth Writers Festival on Saturday 25 February, 11:30am-12:30pm, in the Tropical Grove. To celebrate the talented writers that made the shortlist, we will be sharing extracts on our blog and social media in the weeks leading up to the ceremony.
Rachael Mead is a West Australian writer living in South Australia. She is the author of three collections of poetry: The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013) and two chapbooks.
Her manuscript shortlisted for the 2016 Dorothy Hewett Award is called 'The Flaw in the Pattern'.
EdgesDriving out, heading for emptiness
our bodies as compasses, we point north
through suburbia rolled so thick the idea that this could be nature
is conceded against all instinct.
Legume blankets peel from the road,
lurid, as if green was a primary colour.
We head towards the ranges,
still so distant they seem
a ripped edge of sky.
Finally the land folds open
into twin sheets of desert
held together by the seam of road
over-locked with long stitches
of barbed wire and fence post.
But our eyes love edges, all else
too vast to hold our attention.
We seek those flourishing boundaries
where everything breaks cover
relishing the fleeting spotlight.
Saltbush stubble scrapes against air,
the desert hard-muscled and lean
until finally the ranges appear
fisting from up the plains,
knuckles clenched and ripped to the bone.
In this dry home of the quandong
I hunger for an apple, the crack
of crisp flesh beneath my teeth
the sweet-acid sluice of dust
the simple taste of rain.