Elly McDonald


Women Talk (1983)

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Genuinely I am genuinely

Not concerned

While Julie’s brother

Got vicious, and we had to put him down

How could he?

How he could do that I’ll never know

I always thought there were rules about these things

And the kids were real upset


(On a train

Women talk. Some don’t

Some sit

Staring tense by a window

Into carriage walls

Like railway station billboards

Conversation flits by


Water off a duck’s back, love

Cheer up

(Random sense uneven

Rhythm volume fading

In and out)

You look like you just lost

Your best friend


You were a bad friend to me

(Insisting, she winces

Inflicting mental lashes)

And I loved you

(A voiceless conversation with a man who

Isn’t here)

You weren’t any kind of friend to me

At all

You wouldn’t have tried to help

If I were mangled in front of you

Probably not, anyway

And sometimes I was

I think

But frankly, m’dear

I don’t give a damn

I don’t


I don’t

Care that much


Asked me not to laugh

(Smirks a schoolgirl, standing near)

But really

What could I say?

He was so


And Katy said c’mon

(The train pulls aptly

To a half)

Let’s go home now


Author: Elly McDonald

Australian-born, with English mother, has lived in several Australian cities and in London. Travelled widely. Way way back when, published widely as a poet and short story writer.

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