Salt Mother

By: Bruce Pascoe
Produced by Julie Nimmo

Hullo Mother.

Oh, Bruce, how are you?

I saw an old man, Mother.

Mmm.

When he told a story he traced the fold in a tablecloth with his forefinger just like you.

Mmm.

He was worried about his country. His mother.

Mmm.

I can’t see you mother.

Nor I you. But we are speaking.

Mmm.

I can smell the salt of you, Mother.

Mmm. My river.

Your sea.

Mmm.

The land is hurting Mother, your body.

Yes, that is so.

We are trying to make you well.

Oh yes, and how will you do that?

We will grow the grass again Mother so that the gale of dusk is sweet with your breath, we will grow the purple flower that grows the root that tastes like champagne, we will grow the yellow flower that grows the root that makes babies strong.

You are ambitious, my son.

We want your health, Mother, we want to repair the damage of the white man and his animals and hungry plants.

Well do so without anger.

That is hardest of all, Mother.

Well grow up my son, grow up, your anger will hurt you and that will hurt me.

I know.

Anger is easy my son, love is hard, and care is harder still.

I know.

Knowing is good and doing is perfect.

I can’t see you mother.

Nor I you, so we will have to make do with the rock and the tree, the soil and the water, fortunately we will always be there.

Yes, my Mother, now I see you, you are beautiful.

Looking at beauty is easiest of all, but do you have the courage to care?

You made my bones Mother.

Bruce Pascoe is a writer with Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian heritage. He is currently recovering our old people’s foods so we don’t get dispossessed twice.