Dorothy Hewett

Nullarbor Tea Party

unfurling our Japanese parasols
out in the desert
we arrange our dolls' tea set
on an upturned butter box
we have invited the little boy
whose father keeps the petrol bowser
he pedals down the empty track
a prince on his tricycle
we pour from the china teapot
one finger extended like ladies

behind us the stone houses
of the abandoned Telegraph Station
are disappearing under the dunes
a chimney sticks up
like a cry for help
the light off the cracked glass
dances like semaphore

the yard is littered
with the corpses of death adders
killed in some cosmic epidemic
their dried skins
rattle in the hot wind
there is no other sound
but the pull of the surf
on the other side of the dunes
the dried-out skins
of the death adders spinning
the trickle of sand
waiting to cover us in.