The Meeting

A sprawling arena of hard clay,
cut through on one side by the creek

and spread with thistles.
And I, alone at the centre of it.

Then he’s there.
Six feet of polished earth-brown,

flat venom head swaying
like a grass stem.

We freeze, each measuring
the other’s threat. From my small

island of rug, I watch his eyes.
He, bellying the dust

and fallen gum-leaves
of his native ground, stares past

the edge of me.
And then, a flick of tail

and he turns that body like water
flung from a hose

and I’m almost sorry –
how astonishingly he’s gone.



Diane Mulholland was born in rural Australia and now lives in London. Her work has appeared widely in journals in the UK and Australia, including most recently The Manchester Review, Finished Creatures, Not Very Quiet, and Long Poem Magazine.