by Anya Doan
When a girl turns sixteen her innocence snaps like a salamander’s tongue
A mallard and her two ducklings neck deep in the barberry
along the rim of a brook
And into the uncaged storm, the squish of a grandmother’s palm rumble
in our stomachs
Did you enjoy your sleep? Of a bamboo bed, you count seven splinters
Years later, a baby sister is born, the softest howl
A gingerly kneaded gluten ball in a dessert soup circling the brewing heat
dissolving into the mouths of crickets nearby
In their lightless village, their feet are the only sounds in sight
Immediately my sister comes of age and learns that her comfort place is her
Earth rusts like a bitter melon and its core a custard apple
She eats but she can’t stop thinking of bone and ivory
in the soil, the elephants that died with their stomachs open,
how before she was born her grandfather died a hero and
her uncle of heroism and how the deaths haven’t stopped
Her hips widen and her armpit devotes its energy to a single hair
Sometimes the sister feels like the brother. But rarely the other way around
I want to tell her something, something slippery she wears around her neck––
Maybe she’d forget why she is here and is angry at how the world is drawn,
her fists brimming with white water lilies.
Land of Tiny People and Slim Fit Pants
by Jo Engelman
My Love was from
Big Love, My Love from Coogee
2 Long Hours by Public Transport to
Leave The Hills,
A Place Full of Straight People
And White Mums and Lonely Dogs
In their Backyards.
The Dogs scavenge for grass between the planks.
I was painting in MY room,
(Did You Know she Liked Painters?)
Mould my Body into Tiny Pieces,
Be Like the 19 Year Old Teens which
Parade their Tiny Bodies at
with their Yoga Shirts and Slim Fit Pants.
I wanted to Be them.
Tried to Eat just like them,
Bleached MY hair to impress Them.
Did You Ever Notice me?
My Love was From Places of Tiny People,
she wore it like a Prefect wears their sashes.
I was also From the Land of Tiny People
But not in the Same Way,
See No One knows where I’m From,
Mum said, that Makes me A blank Canvas
cause I get to ‘create my story’
but it doesn’t really feel that way,
when you get to the Bottom of it.
You asked me for the suburbs surrounding it,
And heard You Say,
oh, That place.
You Drove out to Get me
In your fancy Company Car.
I wanted to say something Funny,
Everything Came Out Funny.
Realised You were here for One Thing,
and One thing only.
Took me TOO long to realise
Big People don’t like small people like me.