Been ‘bout ten years Shell I been together,
All pretty fine, some ups and downs and whatever
Couple of kids no more had been planned
Fibro house, half an acre of land
Oh yeah, Shell is pregnant which was quite a surprise
Not sure if the house is an adequate size
But, hell, I’m now happy though was worried at first
The area round here’s goin’ from bad unto worse
It’s housing commission and they put the dregs here
Lots of blackfellas with their swearing and beers
They drink on the footpath all times of the day
An' look at us white folk in menacing ways
I’d get rid of ‘em all if only I could
I’ve never yet met an Abo that’s good
They lie and they steal and they’re primitive too
Send them back to the country is what we should do.

Anyway, on this particular night
Shell’s breathing heavy and didn’t feel right
So I called up the doctor who told us to wait
Time the contractions and get ready mate
‘Round ‘bout three thirty we knew it was time
Twenty k’s to the hospital – not a long drive
It was windy that night and the clouds they were low
So we got in the car and drove safe and slow
It was then that the rain came – like being in the shower
What should take ten minutes was taking an hour
The creek burst its banks down near Somersby way
And the radio said there would be big delays
I got on the mobile – quite frantic by now
Then Shell’s waters broke and I didn’t know how
Somehow then it all happened so very quick
But the blood and the screaming made me feel sick
Then all I could hear was a tiny quiet cry
My baby! My baby! I sang to the sky
It was dark on that roadway – nobody around
And the rain it was teeming – we were stuck out of town
The ambulance got there ‘bout a quarter to five
I stayed with the car – I was planning to drive
I now think that it’s strange I stayed with the car
I’d not yet seen my baby – the night had no stars.

“This can’t be my child! ” I screamed at the nurse
“You’ve made a mistake and to make matters worse
This baby is black so just take it away!
Now sort out this cock up or I’ll make you all pay! ”

I woke with a bandage surrounding my head
A drip in my arm in a hospital bed
They gave me sedation and I felt quite numb
Was this all a nightmare? What had I done?
I’d passed clean out in that hospital ward
‘Cos we had the wrong baby and I’d fell on the floor
A sensible doctor then came to see me
Now just a few questions he said patiently
How is my baby? And how is my Shell?
They’re doing quite nicely, he said, very well
Now tell me, the Doctor then asked seriously
Where are your parents and are they healthy?
Why is there a problem? I asked him once more
No, not really a problem just for my records
So, you were adopted? And when would that be?
I told him it was ‘round nineteen seventy three
I’d lived out near Dubbo and my parents were killed
In a car crash or something on a road in the hills
That is your wife’s baby, he said quietly
My blood pressure rose and I started to scream
But it can’t be my child so where’s the bitch been
I’ll kill her! I’ll kill her! That whore’s cheated on me!

I took what they called a paternity test
The lawyer said it was all for the best
I now know the truth and it’s been hard to take
That baby’s my own and was not a mistake
I’d thought I was Irish with some Maltese genes
But I am an Abo – that’s proven it seems
My parents they died just a few years ago
They’d lived in the country – they’d moved out from Dubbo
They thought if adopted then I’d have more chance
Of a prosperous life and improved circumstance
So all of those years I’d been living a lie
Regarding myself as superior white
‘I don’t look like a black man’ I said to the lawyer
‘But then nor do I, would you please sign this form sir’.

by David Keig

Comments (1)

This is an inversion of a true story. Many Aboriginal children are born white with blue eyes which is one of the reasons why the Church in Australia felt that they could 'save them' and they were taken from their birth parents and into adoption.