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I’m Mireille Juchau and I’m reading from a new work called The Weather Inside (Photo by Bronwyn Rennex)
1. Summer Rain
It comes and it comes and it comes. So just give in. Mud climbs the walls of the house, gold frogs cling to the windows. One afternoon Nora Johnson’s ute drifts off the lower mountain road and floats downriver. Five chickens and two sheep on the back, bleating in surprise. She comes for help, smoking a joint on the doorstep. Nora’s fucking ark, your mother says, watching the two of them wade through mud toward your father’s tractor. Then she picks up the bag of grass Nora left. What’s that for? Pain relief, she says, and takes it into the bedroom. The sound of wet gumboots being removed at the door, like someone sighing. They slump against each other, given up. Every house along the road to town has its row of waterlogged shoes. In your bedroom, Pip is sleeping. You tuck her white sheets in. She turns and turns with her own, inside weather.
Across the wheatfields the brown stallions ripple in the midday heat. Coming back from the hospital, by the Escarpment turnoff, locusts hammer the car. Soon, the windows are smeared green. The rain has made the insects fat and restless. They’ll cause an engine to overheat, your father says. At the service station the dead locusts lie in mounds from the cleaned out radiators. Toward the end, Pip will be allowed only liquid from a straw. It is strange how her hands felt in hospital—as if warmed by fire. At night you wait for Meg to finish, then you step into the cold bath and lie down. Most things look better underwater. What must she think of us, your mother said, halfway home, just leaving her in there?
ABOUT MIREILLE JUCHAU:
Mireille Juchau is the author of Burning In (Giramondo, 2007), which was shortlisted for the 2008 Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Age Book of the Year Award and the Nita B. Kibble Award. Machines for Feeling (UQP, 2001), her first novel, was shortlisted for the 1999 Vogel/Australian Literary Award. Mireille’s short fiction, plays, art reviews and essays have been published internationally and in Australia. She has a PhD in literature and has taught writing at several universities, and in the community.
“I have been at Varuna with Retreat Fellowships in 2011 & 2004, an Editorial Mentorship in 2003 and the Eric Dark Flagship Fellowship in 2011.” Mireille Juchau
Burning In, Giramondo Publishing, Sydney, 2007; forthcoming Mercure de France, Paris 2012; Croatia 2012.
Machines for Feeling, University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 2001
White Gifts, Script, HEAT Magazine, May 2003: 89-99
‘Habitat Group’, HEAT Magazine 22, 2010; 79-91
‘Rituals’, Meanjin, 2 ‘Poetics’, 2001: 23-34
‘Going’, New Orleans Review, Vol 26, Nos 3 & 4, 2000: 30-38; & Meanjin, 1,‘Hauntings’, 2000
‘The Dog Before the World’, Siglo, Issue 12, 2000: 37-9
‘The Falling Game’, Certifiable Truths. Stories of Love and Madness, Jane Messer (ed.), Allen and Unwin: Sydney, 1998: 110-133
‘Salt’, Picador New Writing 4, Beth Yahp & Nicholas Jose (eds), Pan Macmillan: Sydney 1997: 102-111
‘passages’, BLUR Stories by Young Australian Writers, James Bradley (ed.), Random House: Sydney, 1996: 26-36
‘Fragments’, Meanjin, Vol. 54, No. 4, 1995: 640-649
Mireille can be contacted via Anthony Blair at The Cameron Creswell Agency (02) 9319 7199
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