Dolly’s bar stool is empty now.
She no longer emerges from the fetid air
of her cluttered, weatherboard house
to take a two dollar taxi ride
to the back of the Brighton.
No more do the taxi drivers dread the lottery
of her six o’clock pick-up.
No more does she fill their ears with caustic comments
and their nostrils with her stale urine aura.
No more do they offer their silent prayers
to the god of incontinence.
No more do the children of Lower Gibson Street
scare each other with tales of the witch.
The old woman has gone,
her passing unmourned
by a society that had turned its face from hers.
POET'S NOTE: At a certain time in the early afternoon, the taxi drivers of Mandurah, if they were sitting on the taxi rank, dreaded getting that call over the radio to pick up Dolly who only lived a few hundred metres from the rank. Every afternoon Dolly would take a $2 fare to the back entrance of the Brighton hotel where she would sit on a bar stool and nurse a couple of beers for hours ( I imagine because she was on a pension and not well off). Then she had a standing booking with the taxi company to be picked up from the hotel and taken home at six o'clock. She would usually buy a box of beer to take home and the cabbie was supposed to take it inside her house for her. The maelstrom of malelovent smells inside her house would make even the strongest of stomachs lurch. And she quite often wet herself on the taxi seat during the journey. Apparently, she had grown-up children who lived with their families in Perth, but they rarely made any effort to visit her. She was a cantankerous woman, but I couldn't help wondering if she had grown caustic and defensive from a life of loneliness, abandonment and disappointment.