The Tree I Call Tiger

Elizabeth Tyson-Doneley


I imagine myself walking out of work. Not even packing up my stuff, just picking up my bag and walking out. The sky is a billowing skirt of blue. I can feel the curve of the earth underneath my feet. The road changes from bitumen to dirt, buildings transform into trees. Fences metamorphose into grasses and shrubs. Wires become long, sticky vines with seedpods. Laneways become glittering streams.

When the gum trees gather around me, kookaburras sitting in pairs and the brush turkeys digging, my clothes unfasten and slip off my body. I walk along the bush track up to the tree I call Tiger, and place my hands on its patterned trunk. It speaks warmly to me, the leaves rushing overhead with knowing. The clouds shift quietly across the sky, and my hair grows five centimetres longer. I stay there until the tree has finished talking, until my clothes have returned to my body.

The creek is dancing across the rocks. I heard there used to be platypus. I sit by the sparkling water, my breath deep and slow. When I feel better, I go back. I swipe my card against the electronic doors and walk in through the secure entrance. The office smells of coffee and instant noodles. I worry for a second that I’ll get into trouble, but nobody even minds. Everybody says ‘Hello’ and nobody minds at all.


Elizabeth Tyson-Doneley is a writer of plays, poetry and memoir living in Brisbane. She has written and performed in the plays The Magnificent Girl and The Seven Year Chaos. Her micro-fiction appears in the Spineless Wonders anthology Landmarks and her poetry has been included in several Poetry d’Amour anthologies. She has trained and worked in theatre and film production as a writer, director, performer and production designer.

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