Culture

Fiction and Poetry

poetry December 19, 2020

Ideas of travel

6 It wasn’t the stars that frightened them. It was the stairs. You could climb to the height of the sky but there were more than a thousand steps and each one took a year off your life – you would soon be lost in the time of your great-great-...

fiction December 19, 2020

A saltwater to watch

“How do you come to still be in South Brisbane?” Young Tom asked Mulanyin, tying his winning boat to the pier below the Petrie house. Tom questioned him in the Yuggera lingo that was becoming more familiar with each passing day, and Mulanyin relaxed...

poetry December 19, 2020

fire moves faster

i south of the equator the summer that set the year on fire was combustible: the cotton sweat-slick of shirt-to-back air so humid, the world turned in slow motion far-flung ash, settling to dust on grimy city window sills the sour smell of singed...

fiction December 12, 2020

Home is a rectangle

“I can see the war in her eyes,” Samia tells Idriis one day, after getting a lashing from their mother Sagal. “Maybe the old anthem possessed her,” says Idriis. “Or maybe the war sliced her heart into smaller pieces of fleshy string?” Idriis...

poetry December 5, 2020

Three poems

Atmosphere I can’t wish on stars in unseasonal cold. They’re older than they look. And they keep shtum in shivery night even when I sneak up on them. Still they spread a stern and spiky glow on my uneven thinking about how things turned out, horizon...

fiction November 28, 2020

The call

The president wanted to make the call herself, but as a committee we felt this was risky. She saw her place in history, the first human to make direct contact with an alien civilisation; we saw a diplomatic catastrophe. Even if she managed the...

fiction November 21, 2020

Brazen stats of empire

I am a dressmaker who does alterations to make a living. You might call me a tailor, but what would you know? How long would you spend down here in the heat, working 12-hour shifts? And this is better than when I worked in the shop with 30 others...

poetry November 14, 2020

Two poems

Relevant to the Day for Mr Daliri After lunch, I decide I have no brothers and sisters, I am Alone. My love is in another room. She doesn’t know of this severance, how far I drifted In the space of morning. Language no longer speaks to me. Though I...

fiction November 7, 2020

Perfect as a shell

for Olga Masters When I was younger, I would look at my body in the mirror when I got up in the morning, between taking off my pyjamas and getting in the shower. I would drop the flannel pants and then my undies, letting my smell fill my nostrils...

fiction October 31, 2020

For the perishable body

Look, a dead great-uncle. He is staring straight ahead through a black-and-white film as his boat carves through the waves. He is standing on a beach all scratched up and flickering. He is wearing war medals stored in a box I can’t find in the shed...

poetry October 24, 2020

Time

Linear time is something Settlers brought here A version of time that creates distance Things that happened a hundred years ago are further away than things that happened yesterday A version of time weaponised against Indigenous peoples Our life...

fiction October 16, 2020

Jacaranda

The woman’s head is at an odd angle, one side of her neck stretched tight like the rawhide of a drum. Carolyn’s skin turns clammy and her breathing shallows as she scans the woman’s body: the cracked, swollen feet; toenails like thick squares of...

fiction October 10, 2020

Three anecdotes

Beggar A Beggar who had only recently and reluctantly taken up begging after losing his job as an administration officer for a small insurance firm was one day noticed on the street by a, thankfully, employed company director on his way home from...