Naarm Melbourne / Writer


I was born with one elbow sticking up. I was born at low tide, feet pricked by mangrove roots. I was born in a dimly lit grocery store. I was born on a clean-hot afternoon when beetles crust the leaves, iridescent glistening.

It's ten years ago, mum's front yard with the only other oak tree. It's dying.

A mound and a hollow make a grave.
Bricks lie like bodies —
All wiry fur
Rigor mortis rigid.
A carefully placed return to earth.
Interrupted by digging digging digging.
To bury or uncover panic rises in the back of my throat -
Acid bile bittered by grief.
Under the lip of soil I can see they are still awake.
Revulsion clouds my vision as I reach in, but I know
What must be done, must be done.
Dependent, they need me.
Caring for pain might bring relief without closure.
May I alleviate but not restore.
I pour water into thirsty soil, thirsty mouths.
I weep and wait.
When it is time, I push them deeper
Gently replacing their soil tomb.
I cry for the memory of my grandmothers able hands
For languages lost
For souls returned.


I was waist deep in salty water.
Your faces visited me there, your bodies stayed away. I feel a sense of lingering loss, of acceptance and hope. This must be done to continue the journey forward-inward.
Your surface is flat.
My feet remained the way I had always known them to be.
His feet were made for swimming and fishing. Like my fathers.
I did not want you to see, in case you thought differently of me. So I hid.
But I wished I could explain it to you just the same.


© Neptune and Manisha Anjali

© Neptune and Manisha Anjali