parachilna rumble

parachilna rumble

dangerous to blink
driving into parachilna
population seven
not even the dusty brown dog
gets up to greet us

the furrowed road
edged with dusty tuffs of salt bush
stretches to the horizon
in this boundless land

parachilna is a welcome stop

a hot hazy town
a red earth town
it glows a red clay aura
burnished red and dusty
even the old pepper trees
are dusty

the prarie pub
is famous for its FMG
Feral Mixed Grill
an antipasta of camel emu goat and kangaroo
quandongs natural limes and bush tomatoes
yet the sparkle of chilled white wine
makes the stop worth while

the barmen like a town crier
train on
and the pub quickly empties
to regroup
across the wide wide dusty street

a distant hum intrudes

chardonnay in hand
we watch the freight train
heavy with coal
ponderously lumber
like a gentle swarthy beast
towards us

the parachilna rumble begins a heavy slow rumble
all three kilometers of it
with muffled grumbles
and slow clanks
hypnotic music of the outback

like children we practice counting this head to tail migration
all two hundred and twenty cars
it recedes in its own time
as the desert reclaims its silence


Parachilna was once a town now a pub in South Australia
between Port Augusta and Leigh Creek and west of the Flinders Ranges