In Kakadu
we saw more crocodiles
than aborigines.
The people of the land
had left
(happily, so we were told)
their sacred sites and paintings
to be fenced and packaged
by whites
without dreaming.
One day two came up
as black as your hat
drunk, slurred
coughing, scarred and stinking.
We drove to get away
foot to the floor.
A proud, high-stepping
ancient lizard
unscathed by sun
or time or snake came out.
I slammed on the brakes
too late.
It wasn’t our fault.

Originally published in Fremantle Arts Review, 1991

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