He went up the Murrumbidgee for the GST
helping drovers, helping contractors
learn to welcome change.
North of Wagga Wagga
there was a woman. Her brothers,
big men all, found out
and ran him out of town.
Lost for words, he drifted west by north
until the desert took him in.
Six months later, caked in dust,
he hitched a ride from Hawker Gate.
He downed a beer
to wash the silence from his throat.
"Mate!" he said, and "Thanks."
They dropped him off in Narromine
where drought drove farmers from the land.
He helped them straighten their affairs
then went to ground in Sydney
where he checks the weather daily,
watching the western horizon
for the tongues of fire and sand.
Tim says: "Accountant" was first published in Bravado Issue 7 (2006). Anyone who's read "Rat Up A Drainpipe" in my short story collection "Transported" will recognise the basic storyline - this is how I treated it as poetry.
When Goods and Services Tax, referred to as "GST" in New Zealand and "the GST" in Australia, was introduced in Australia in 2000, it was reported that a number of New Zealand accountants, already familiar with its operation, crossed the Tasman to help Australian companies come to terms with it.
You can read all the Tuesday Poems on the Tuesday Poem blog.