Creek – by Michelle Bishop

Putrid, stinking waterways,
breeding rubbish and muck –
visible as I cross the bridge.
Cars race by. One driver,
no passengers.
Roots protrude from concrete homes,
asphyxiated by fumes.
These life-givers are choking to death.
Leaves and branches and trunks
turn grey under the weight of poison.
Flaccid and forgotten.
We converge like cattle at the lights,
waiting for the (green) man to dictate
our safe passage.
Foot tapping and deep sighs
resounding. Energy screaming
hurry! I’m busy! I shouldn’t have to wait!
Twisted bellies bellow.
The light changes and
it’s on—quick steps secure the lead,
dashing the six lanes of waiting traffic,
eyes averted from the lone driver tapping on the wheel,
energy screaming
hurry! I’m busy! I shouldn’t have to wait!
Is this ‘civilised’?

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Michelle Bishop is a Gamilaroi woman who was grown up on Dharawal Country where she lives with her partner. She is currently an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies at Macquarie University and is completing a PhD which envisions Indigenous education sovereignty.

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From Bent Street 3