In Australia, there is always somewhere further out with redder sand than where you are. The famous poet on a tour stops in a town that straddles a border. The pub and the police are on the same side. A fight breaks out in the pub between two stockhands and the bartender tells them to cross the border. The cop leans on a fencepost to watch them from his other jurisdiction.

It is a cold day in July, dry and clear. With fists raised, the two men prepare to fight. The poet watches with his flat beer. One of the patrons shouts: “Hold on, Rolly, let us get some money down first.” Bets are placed in two circles drawn in the sand with the handle of a stockwhip. The shorter fighter falls down drunk before the first punch is thrown. The publican covers him with a blanket where he lies. No one else will be riding in today. Dogs trot out to sniff the covered man. The betting money is handed back with shrugs. The two men are friends and often fight.

At home in the city, the poet writes his memories of the town but leaves out that the fight did not take place, from forgetfulness, deliberate or random. Because he is famous, this vignette is still read, but everyone thinks the shorter man died in the fight. Sometimes the redder sand is beneath a skyscraper.