the day my mother’s sister came to stay

i heard them from the road
as i was walking soft in late autumn sun
i heard them talking together
voices rising, rolling and falling around each other
familiar with where the pauses
and breaths happen and where scar tissue
thick pink has grown armour on old wounds
some shared

they were in the garden
silver haired sentinels
warrior grandmother’s in lilac and beads.
quiet a moment
watching the sun slant low through trees
and fuchsias opening wax red calyxes
to reveal froth pink centres
delicate crystalline shimmer
in silver sliver light.
they have lived all the names of woman
daughter sister aunt wife
mother grandmother friend.
and more
miss mrs ms

inside i sit on blue brocade
in purple embroider-land
but under their skirts
combat boots are showing
they laugh like cowboys
and drink their tea.




and sometimes we wake
face down amongst the debris
of the tide line, sea grass entangled
sun pulling salt skin taut across our bones.
there is no knowing our name
or how it is we came here
but there is a thirst in us
and across the mudflats,
beyond the driftwood and bodies of creatures
forgotten by the ocean when the estuary mouth
was breached, is water.
and there is nothing to be done
but to drag yourself to that water
fall to your knees in the shallows
and let it teach you how to pray
to live adrift
a creature of the dark pools
and golden sand
creature of the soft pulling tides
and slow moon rising –
lulling you to sleep
until you dream and you remember
the course of the ocean in your veins
the rush and plummet of the waves
pulling aqua before obliterating
every part of you that
thought you were not the ocean.

and you know you have died
on those mudflats before
and you know you will die there again
just to be ocean once more
salt in your blood, hum of whales in your bones
and breath enough to live by.

and everything in you turns towards that ocean
feeling for the tide that will breach the river mouth.


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please don’t post another picture of
sun-draped trees and rainbows
and tell me from the comfort
of your squishy couch
and smartphone screen
how you want to live
in nature.

when we say we want
to go out in nature every day
walk in nature
be in nature
sit in nature while the world
slowly trickles by,
we cast ourselves alone
and empty in the wilderness.
i don’t know how it happened
that these bodies
awkward flesh hung
became so unnatural
that living in this skin
is not nature enough.
when we say we want
to be in nature
find a place to be in nature
we do not seek solace
in the quiet of our armpits
or the vast fertile plains
of our intestines.
i am tired of talk of sacred forests
when the belly of our being
remains unloved.
our bones
just like our healing stones
are holy.
when did we forget
that we were birthed
slippery wet and reeking of blood,
that our mothers’ took us
to their animal breast
and suckled us as mammal’s do
in the dark of their nests
and the bright sun of days
that we ate of the earth that we were
as we grew, forming ourselves
of dirt and roots and life.
that the water of our bodies
is the same water that flowed
with the first breath of creation
we are the same earth
the same water
that always was.
let us not go empty
to sit among the trees
or bathe in mountain light
to forget who we are
and what we live into this world,
let us go neglected wasteland
and stagnant river that we’ve become
let us go sit amongst ourselves
amongst the trees
to remember.


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articulating the bones

articulating the bones

don’t mind me while i sound your bones –
listening for your stories of creation.
reading by touch in the dark of night
what shaped the animal you became,
to see where your heart gnawed
at the cage of your ribs
when the sky was so big
you thought you might explode.
if i walk your spine
each vertebrae a careful footfall
will it walk me back to where we began.
was it the ocean
old sea dog salt of rock and river
coursing your veins, carving
lung and blood vessels into estuaries and trees
your inner ear a conch shell
always listening for the sea.
when our ancestors threw our bones
on that windless sand before the world
to track their way amongst the stars,
who gathered them up again
meticulously counting
on long ago tongues and fingers –
gathered them up to bury them
that we may be born here
be the longing of this place.
remember we were told
all women are formed of mud,
they forgot to tell us,
flesh of mother’s flesh
blood of mother’s blood,
that all the world was holy.
mud, silk soft cool
and new rain beautiful
is holy.
here, this is true,
read my bones.



travelling light

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driving the morning road
unzipping the day
from darkness
with a car full of girls
and the feint whisper of dreams
like breath on the windows
as the sun rises desolate
over blackened mountains
through smoke heavy mist
across lakes
the burnt edges of the world after fire.
sleep has given way to chatter
like the murmur of of roosting birds
readying for flight
and now
travelling light
they sing
as they do when they are
together in the world
and the road ahead
stretches long.

sunday morning

i woke to find infinity
had taken the space
below my ribs where
sometimes the world waits
with words like you and i.
rolling my eyes inwards
i could see vast
oceans of starscapes
above and below
the silent horizon.
i lay still, steady breathing
that sweet salt sea
so as not to spill the ocean
flooding my veins
with transient magic of starlight
on deep water,
while outside my window
the sun rose
turning darkness
to leaf and tree.

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new moon beautiful

stretching this space
here between ribs,
expanding the horizon
with breath –
i can wait
while the world turns
and turns again.
i can wear this skin
inside out
in the rain
folding and
unfolding my love
pushed paper thin
in the rough bark
of trees
while the sun
rises and falls
like the breath
of an animal
vast and warm.
i am no less
than the dark
between stars
my feet have tasted this –
i can wait.

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