Iron Dust - Title


Groveling? I have no memory of groveling. So why does this word fill the back of my throat with dust? Why? And is it red dust, or grey? I can't tell. When I try, I'm on the ground. Pain blazes in my right shoulder, now blood wet. Red. It must be red dust. I hear a soft-swooshed crash, and eucalyptus stirs the air. Nodules of dirt dig the flesh of my knees. Haematite, iron-rich. Muram dust on the road: deep rusty red. Yes.

      But now my eye fills with a caterpillar, black and yellow, furry, fat, bitter smelling. It moves away along a stick, as awkward, as fast, as that strange man at the Post Office who scuttles after thrown coins on his half-bared bottom and a wood crutch. I like him. He knows me, makes a smile on the side of his face with more holes than teeth when I, all shy, hand him the hole-centred coppers I beg from my mother. He doesn't scare me. No. He wouldn't hurt me. No . . . .

      Just beyond the stick is an African's foot, its deep-cracked sole the colour of milktea. Horny. Splayed. Never shoed. It steps back, onto the caterpillar. Aiyeeeeee! A panga slashes down not an inch from my pale little hand, rings metal on the muram, slithers into the deep dry leaves of the ditch. Cold untempered steel, filed razor sharp. Iron. You taste it raw in the high secret vaults of your skull before all go black.

Drums - Block

M.L.Richardson, 1987
All rights reserved