Featured in

  • Published 20220428
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-71-9
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

While her mother lies pinned to her bed under the startling
weight of a cut to the abdomen more than 1,000 km away,
I walk. To the river. To a gentle place beneath she-oak
where the water is a body freshly made. A thick branch
curves to the sand. It is the right height for a woman
to clutch at during the hours of labour that unfasten
reality. I think of the women who’d mind her.
Build a shelter and a fire. Catch the fish to help her
breastfeed. A stream of welcome pulls from my chest
for new life, for each new life that has been will be.
The river world is born into birdcall, leaves silvered by
morning’s water. Sun in the sky and my hair and my arms.
Her mother is alone in a busy four-bed hospital room
I’m too far to bring the fish.

The details of birthing on Country alluded to in this poem are from the teachings of Barkindji poet Dr Paul Collis and are shared with his permission.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

If you are an educator or student wishing to access content for study purposes please contact us at griffithreview@griffith.edu.au

Share article

About the author

Ella Kurz

Author & Editor

Ella Kurz lives on Ngunnawal Country. She is a co-editor of the anthology What We Carry: Poetry on Childbearing (Recent Work Press, 2021) and...

More from this edition

Last rites

MemoirI COLLECT MY father on a hot Friday morning from a funeral home in Preston. He’s waiting for me in a shopping bag, housed...

Being here

MemoirBACK IN 2015, when we were getting the local language work going here at the Aireys Inlet Primary School in Mangowak, every Monday morning...

Beyond the frontier

IntroductionClick here to listen to Editor Ashley Hay read her introduction ‘Beyond the frontier’. A LONG TIME ago, I spent a day on a replica of HMS Endeavour on...

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