June/July 2010




walleah press


Those who come across the seas

[On April 16, 2009, a boat carrying 47 Afghani asylum seekers exploded near Ashmore reef after being taken over by Australian Defence Forces. 5 refugees died and many survivors sustained critical burns.]

Nation: now just a memory
Ocean: our deliverance or our grave

Open-ended: furious heat, incessant thirst
Navy: two warships gleam in the horizon’s haze
Escort: our hope steered two thousand kilometers astray

Inferno: for the match-striker, death defied detention
Skin: our last defence incinerated

Identity: father, taxi-driver, BOAT PERSON
Letter: go back
Lies: boundless plains to share
Essence: pain is to life like blood is to veins
Grafted: in this sterile purgatory they piece me together
Attentive: a guard at my bedside watches
Lest I rise like Lazarus and live here

Susan Austin is a poet, occupational therapist, and a social justice and climate activist. She lives in Hobart where she is involved in the local writing community.