In the Way of Progress

When the bulldozer came
for our house

we sewed signs into the windows
that said

“panegyric government
perpetuating poverty”

and the great machine purred there
like a cat contemplating a lizard’s tail.

Then a bloke yelled from the driver’s seat
“What does it mean?”

and we yelled back
“Look it up in the dictionary!”

He swatted at a fly and scratched his elbow
and rubbed his forehead.  He turned the machine off

“You’d better get outta there”
he said it like he didn’t know what else to say.

Dad muttered quietly  “poor bloke”
and picked up the pocket Collins that

Benjie used to take to school
He chucked it full across the gap.

It hit the yellow window frame
and the bloke flinched, looked aghast, 

and then realised it was a dictionary.
We could see him laughing -

his shoulders bouncing up and down
and his face splitting like fruit.

Well, it looked like laughing
but he didn’t climb down to pick
up the small red and blue book
and for the first time Dad looked nervous.

“Mate, you gotta come down”
the bloke had stopped laughing now.

He took a water bottle from near his feet
“Words aren’t gonna help anymore.

Your home is toast.  Sorry mate.  I can’t do nothing.
It’s the higher ups, you know.”

“Yeah.”  Dad’s voice was whisper thin.
No way the bloke could’ve heard him.

“Yeah.  Words were never gonna help.”
Dad was white as a suit collar 

and the bloke swigged his drink.

17 thoughts on “In the Way of Progress

      1. I’m able to get up the stairs without crawling like a toddler, so that is a huge improvement. I’m almost standing upright again, too. Doc just rang and said stick with the chair and heating pad, and she’s sending over some tablets.

        Liked by 1 person

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