Ol' girl can drive

Lindy Warrell

She sits beside me, silent. Intent.
A shock of white curls,
lined brown face,
dark eyes alive
to each furl and bend of grass
and ancient songlines
in water holes, cliffs and trees.

We drive far off-road,
no tracks, no talk. Hold tight,
the Cruiser swerves round boulders,
skirts tiny termite mounds
too sharp for tyres then
slides in the mud
of a Paperbark swamp.
Back in the sun, a cacophony of green
glistens in the humid glare.

The crossing appears,
an 80 metre crocodile-swirl
of turbid water that licks at doors,
low range, low gear, slow, steady,
hearts pound, we rev
to scale the bank
straight up through slime
to a smile of applause on the other side.

A bush chorus begins
of chatter and barking dogs,
the clamour of children at play.
'This ol' girl can drive', she giggles
a riff of mirth
among sizzling sausages, bird song and croaking frogs.