From Bondi to Kyrenia
She watched this sea
with its loud waves
demanding the surfer
to almost fall off the board
like she did in the boat
as she stretched to catch
the last apricot
the crew member threw –
there were many hands reaching
for that taste of sunshine –
her body flung
against the boat’s spine
as Poseidon opened his mouth
expecting a feed.
They come with sweets and flowers, sometimes with shopping vouchers.
They want to know about my experience of hate since I’ve arrived.
Have I been tempted to walk without my hijab outside?
Has my pram been jostled by white elbows and knees?
Have I thrown my phone into the bin to stop
the onslaught of trolls?
I say No but my body says Yes.
They come again with longer questions
to ascertain my resilience or resistance.
These questions are like homework from a school
in a language I’ve never been taught.
Last night these questions entered my dreams,
I was fighting them like thirsty mosquitos.
The flowers were the bright Hello of my internal smile
when I walked the safe streets those first months.
My flowers now are sick with grief
each question asks me to reach down into my bowels
to vomit the despair I wish I’d drown.
If I answer truthfully they promise to advocate.
I am wading in deep water already.
How many answers before my head is immersed?
If I had their ease with English,
I would write their report
without the data, category or diagnosis,
it would be the story of the woman
who thought she would never fear
Maroulla makes her nest
out of 82 years
of threaded memory, cobwebbed hope
there is no space to sit on the edge of her bed
of worship to ripped letters
of long-ago love,
bracelets, cups, spoons, scarves…
the treasure of tea chests and drawers
spread over her bed to recall their use,
each hand-picked photo is the quilted album
of grow, escape, arrive, settle,
her hand darts to the strand of blue-eyed worry beads,
each bead is cradled like a grandchild in a ceremony
of sacred water.
Maroulla’s carer speaks,
hysteria fanning her voice,
Your Grandmother… calling your name
I run, I drive, dread suffocating my heart.
The carer holds me away from the room
Better to remember her…
The smell is the candle left burning
to flame the nest into a silent war –
the victor is not the fire
it is the poem of the ritual
naming the child
to honour the past.
‘In the early hours of 22 September 2012, Gillian Meagher, a 29-year-old Irish woman living in Australia was raped and murdered while walking home from a pub in Brunswick.’ The Internet, the papers, social media…
The music of hurt and pain became our nightmare,
Earth and Sky went mute, took shelter,
the Universe inhaled a world of sorrow,
then steadied to exhale our muffled screams.
There were your colors of live to love and love to live:
red lips to engage your views with our news,
black hair to bind our fairytales to your beauty,
white to show the rows of bridal gowns
and how one became your eternal dress.
Your spirit gifted these symbols,
created an alchemy of gold-flamed candles
cascading the length of the longest road
turning our silent prayers into an anthem
to be sung by us
when we each
Angela Costi’s poetry explores cross-cultural existence. Her poetic lens is also drawn to urban existence, highlighting moments of connection among routine and struggle. She has published four collections of poetry including Honey and Salt (Five Islands Press, 2007) and Lost in Mid-Verse (Owl Publishing, 2014). Her poetry is published by Mascara Literary Review, StylusLit, Wellington Street Review (UK) and Eureka Street.