How to Build a Road

Get out your plan
and draw a line
from Kwinana Freeway
through the wetlands
to Stock Road.
You will build this road
come hell or low water and
whatever the future of the port will be.
After all
the PM loves roads
only roads
not rail
and Barnett knows best.

Hammer the houses
trash the bushland
boot out the bandicoots
scatter the birds
they don’t drive trucks
they don’t even vote.

Rip out the flora
shatter the silence
sink the pylons
scuttle Roe Swamp
it’s only a sumpland.
String up your bright lights
to show the way.
The frogs won’t really mind.

Don’t plan too far
no worries
about the problems ahead
those bottlenecks
past High Street
something will come up
she’ll be right.
After all
the PM loves roads
only roads
not rail
and Barnett knows best.


I’ll get in first, she said
my grandmother
I got in beside her
in the back
we were on our way
to a family wedding
joking and laughing
but the sudden roar
from the rear
rending steel
pushed forward
swivelled back
came to rest
a moment’s silence
I wailed hysterical
she was silent, my grandmother
leaning right down
quiet and still
I saw her neck
quiet and still
no door in the back
no way out, not yet
I was pulled out
petrol dripping
who did this, asked the driver
I did, said a young man
her head was perched, my grandmother
someone had lifted her
head perched
on the back
of the front seat
blood draining
quiet and still

Copyright Sandra Roe

My Worst Christmas Day

woke up hung over
stubbed my toe
on the bed leg
barked my shin
barked the other one
knocked down the letter box
trying to drive to church
came back inside
started a row
felt angry
kicked the bed leg
stubbed the other toe
burnt the roast turkey
smashed my last bottle of wine
opened my gifts
nasty box of tricks
the cat ate my salmon fillet
all I had left
went to bed in despair
but the dog ate my shoes
and the cat peed on my bed


Copyright   Sandra Roe

Where is my Christmas spirit

Where is my Christmas spirit
it’s in the Midnight Mass
and it’s waiting for me
as I drift off to sleep
it will be there on Christmas morning
under the Christmas tree
in the gifts I give and receive
it’s in the Christmas cocktail
the cream and the brandy
and in the bottle of wine
in my cousin’s potato salad
in my own plum pudding
and I see it as I cross the road
and go round the corner
it’s right next to the post box
and on top of my cupboard
in that old shoebox
it’s among the small children
and in the old people’s home
it’s hidden away in the calendar
hanging behind the door
it’s in the local park
and down along the beach
in the shop window
and the shopping rush
it’s still in my old school
and in a friend’s smile
it’s in my lover’s eyes
and with the fishermen
boating under the bridge
and along the railway line
flowing beside the ocean


Copyright    Sandra Roe

Silver Linings

Bark up the wrong tree
find more than you know.
Start a screaming match
fill your lungs.
Become a commie
see its wrongs
find the light.
Pick a fight with a thug
a lesson you won’t forget.
Marry the wrong one
get it right next time.
Take a wrong turn
get completely lost
find your dream home.
Get the numbers wrong
play with them again.
Get the ingredients wrong
create a new dish.
Spell it wrong
coin a new word.
Hit the wrong key
update your skills.
Looking stupid
goof off
make them all laugh.
Use wrong tactics
choose another ploy.
Lie and be exposed
buy some new clothes.
Get the wrong impression
have another look.
Make the wrong impression
get a new look.
Be misled
find your own mind.
Give yourself away
pull yourself together.
Put your foot wrong
fall over
find it down there.
Start on a false note
end on the right one.
Pick yourself up
dust yourself off
clear away the stumbling blocks
you will find the way.

Copyright Sandra Roe


Peel the sleep
pull the blinds
button up
pull on your pants
put on your face
comb your hair
and wipe your bum.
Turn on the tap
wash your hands
butter your toast
and cut your lunch.
Brush your teeth
and make a list.
Grab your keys
start the car
grab the wheel
give the finger
and blow your horn.
Lock the car
open the door
boot the drive
turn on the kettle
make the tea
sort out the mail
answer the phone
count the cash
and file your nails.
Pull your finger
crack the eggs
and tick off the list.
Turn off the lights
grab the wheel
and come in the drive.
Cut the veg
hack the chook
slice the meat
and turn on the oven.
Pop your cork
and snap your fingers
the day’s work is done.

Copyright Sandra Roe

The Vatican Trail

Walk from the Via del Corso
past Saint Peter’s
enter the Vatican
and the crowd surges like thick water
along the long, long corridors
and then eddies in the Sistine Chapel.
When the murmur swells to a babble
the crowd is shushed by sombre men
who direct the stream out of the chapel
and down the spiral stairs.

Copyright Sandra Roe