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January 2018, vol 13 no 4

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Keitha Keyes


It’s scary at night walking to the outside toilet on our farm. We go in pairs, one of us holding a torch. The path is moving. Hundreds of little bodies swirl around our feet.

There is no way we can keep them out of the house, either. Mum does her best. She puts steel wool between the weatherboards. Not all around the house — that would be impossible. Just in the pantry and kitchen walls. It helps for a while, until they eat through the steel wool, too.

Before we go to bed we set traps around the verandas. And when we turn out the lights we hear them snap shut, one after the other. Then there is the scampering and tittering. It’s hard to go to sleep.

our fort
under siege
we try
to imagine
them gone