Poem – Bernadette Hall

The Stories

Once upon a time
there was a little girl
in a flannel petticoat

who kicked up her heels
in her auntie’s pub
where there was a well

in the middle of the bar
and you had to be careful
or you’d fall in. A tomboy.

And the goat chased her
and she had to hide in the dunny,
hanging on like grim death

to the little string
that pulled the door back in.
Now there’s the whinge

of the gate hinge
and your slow shuffle
through the garden,

dragging another bag
of cherry leaves. Your room
is full of plastic ivy.

Remember how we used to walk
crooked down Montgomery Avenue
to Benediction on a Sunday night

and you’d bump me giggly
into the soft bat wings
of the new holly?

These are our stories,
mother, and we’ll stick to them.
Getting them straight.


— Bernadette Hall

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