Alternative Law Journal
As if it had just been a joke, showing off
like the one who'd said
he could ride fastest, no hands, down the hill . . .
one perfect morning
he went down the scrub
with his mates, and an old crumpled can, and sucked in the most petrol:
holding his breath
till his lungs, and the world, buckled in ...
till he spasmed and sank to forgetting ...
till they tucked him in tight
in the quietest room in the State: because, being black, he, now, was a problem,
and they didn t want him, not now,
with his needle and drip.
I was teaching at a school in Sydney's Western Suburbs when the word went round that a young Aboriginal student would not be coming back to school as he was in a coma from sniffing petrol. What upset me at the time was that we were instructed not to discuss or advertise the incident. The student never did return to school. I have no idea what happened to him. • ML