The first thing she noticed when they moved into their new property was the long line of blackboys high on the ridge. She playfully named them The Triffids, much to her husband’s disgust. They were neither triffids nor blackboys he would explain, they are xanthorrhoea or grass trees. She barely listened as he pontificated, his pedant ways long known to her. The blackboys stood as sentinels, a row of nine, menacing or guarding, according to how you viewed them.

Each morning she took a walk across the paddocks, up onto the ridge to chat to her nine triffids. Her husband worked for a mining company so was away a lot. They lived kilometres from their nearest neighbours. The Triffids became her closest confidants. She told them all her news. Read out her stories. She sketched and painted them. The xanthorrhoea became an obsession. Soon she stopped going into town at all. She unplugged the phone and the computer. Spent her evenings up on the ridge amongst the blackboys, viewing the stars in the night sky.

One night she took root. Her body thickened and turned black. Her hair changed to grass. The next morning the sun rose on a decade of xanthorrhoea, silent sentinels standing on the ridge. The tenth and newest, at the end of the line, sporting a flower stalk stuck up straight in the air, ready for pollination.


Copyright April 2013


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