Featured in

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

Here are some other stories. I made my home at the outskirts of the temple complex, out of the way of the priests, but sitting where pilgrims could see me as they approached, a tin cup to catch coins, my body a warning and a promise. Or, I appeared unremarkable at my birth, until my bones began to grow in an impetuous fashion, torso clenching into a fist, pressing my heart and lungs into a space too small. Or, I survived, but in a remote cave, smudged with a mystical bitterness, visited by other outcasts, whose hands reached out to touch my hunched back for prophecy or consolation. Or maybe I was never born, the prenatal test results causing a look of concern on the doctor’s face which my mother couldn’t resist falling into. I have to tell you these things that never happened – or what happened to others like me, and will happen again – before I can think of what did. For too long, I have felt alone in this body. The past, an inaccessible crypt. The future, a mirage.

There are many ways to carry a story. My father smothered his stories with bravado. Here he is, laughing at the sea drenching him on the deck. There he is, shoving money at the doctor to cure his dying mother. Another time, his chest deflated when the nurse reached for the pink blanket. His survival was never one step at a time. It was the leap, the stumble, the fall. Another form of inheritance. When my home was a hospital for too many nights, he left the visits to mother. I felt her walk the corridor towards me. She said, you know your father. I knew him. His struggle to tell another story of scarred shame.

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

Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson’s latest poetry collection is Human Looking, which won the 2022 ALS Gold Medal. He has co-edited disability-themed issues of Southerly and Australian Poetry...

More from this edition

Once upon a self

Non-fictionFor Plato, most notably, drama and poetry were to be regarded with intense moral and political suspicion: they made malevolent characters intelligible to their audiences; they use up our real moral sentiments by arousing them for fictional characters; and by depicting certain traits and tropes they risked seducing audiences into acting them out themselves.

New Scientist

PoetryA body we can read and understand. If only I could put you under a microscope and transform you into a symbol to unite our disciplines: the communication phage.

See through a glass darkly 

Non-fictionOn the way home that night we pass Oxford Street. It’s lit up and people are dancing in the windows of the clubs. There’s a rainbow flag on one of the buildings. Dad turns to look at this with a grimace: he shakes his head and sucks his teeth. He turns the volume up on the CD player and focuses on the road ahead. 

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