Back to the red earth

Featured in

  • Published 20230502
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-83-2
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

AQUELE QUE MADRUGA Dios lo ayuda. God helps those who rise early.

Acacia hears her mother’s modulated portuñol dialect in her mind as she lies under her handwoven red-­and-­white quilt. Her petite and muscular frame sinks into her bed, pregnant belly weighing her down. Clouds of wool expose themselves every couple of centimetres along the mattress’ torn seams. The sun peering through her bedroom window brushes a smile on Acacia’s thick, peeling lips, dimples forming on either side of them like fingermarks. Time begins to coil itself back into its stem, its root, its seed, back into the red earth of Rivera, Uruguay. 

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at

Share article

About the author

Natalia Figueroa Barroso

Natalia Figueroa Barroso is a Uruguayan-­Australian writer of Charrúa, African and Iberian origins who was raised between the unceded lands of Charrúa Nation and...

More from this edition

On the forging of identity 

Non-fictionThe night Sartre spoke in Paris can be seen as a hinge in time, the moment when modernity and its focus on individual identity came to the fore after the destruction of the old order. We are still living on the far side of the door Sartre pointed us through. Of course, modernity had a thousand authors. It was the product of billions of lives lived in close proximity. But Sartre, to me, best articulated a modern creed of what it means to be human.


PoetryBetween one end of the gap and the other the gravity of our gaze can but scratch like banksias  at your fingertips before starlight splits the present  across his teeth into pearl and lime stanzas.

Have you ever seen the rain?

FictionOne by one the streets quietened down. A great hush washed over this city. Even the lights at night seemed dimmer. All of life lay dormant. Or maybe not – Toru couldn’t trust his eyes, could he? He had been living on the streets in the clothes he died in, scrounging food from tables outside restaurants and cafés around the city, but those tables were long gone.

Stay up to date with the latest, news, articles and special offers from Griffith Review.