and the kids will yell 'Truly?' and get wildly excited for no reason and the brown kelpie pup will start dashing about, tripping everyone up and she'll go out to the vegetable patch and pick all the green tomatoes from the vines and notice how the oldest girl is close to tears because she was happy here, and how the youngest girl is beaming because she wasn't.
And the first thing she'll put on the trailer will be the bottling-set she never unpacked from Grovedale, and when the loaded ute bumps down the drive past the blackberry canes with their last shrivelled fruit, she won't even ask why they're leaving this time, or where they're headed for she'll only remember how, when they came here
she held out her hands, bright with berries,
the first of the season, and said:
'Make a wish, Tom, make a wish.'
This poem begins in the middle of some lives that are already in progress, without indicating who these people are or what has happened to them in the past. The references to “he” and “her” in the first line are left unexplained, so that readers only come to know these characters through what happens in the poem. There is no further information given about why “it’s time to start packing,” about where they are or why they have to leave. To some degree, they are leaving because, as the brief title of the poem states, they are “drifters,” and as such it is in their nature to not stay in one place. It also feels as though the scene around the house is chaotic by having the dog run around barking. The attitudes of the two daughters represent the attitudes of the parents: the older one has been happy living there and is upset to be leaving, while the other is glad to go. Although these are the only two mentioned, the implication is that there are more children, enough to create a hectic situation while running around. The shrivelled fruit on the blackberry vines that is mentioned kind of omen of the memory to...