Anne Elvey is author of Kin (Five Islands, 2014) and managing editor of Plumwood Mountain: An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics. She holds honorary appointments at Monash University and University of Divinity, and lives on Bunurong/Boon wurrung land in Seaford, Victoria.
My skin is peach and cream with a blue undernote. I learn it is the colour of my soul. A venial sin will mark it with a drop of ink and a mortal stain it entirely. When I am ten my uncle picks up two hitchhikers—a man and a boy—on the Princes Highway. He tells me they are Aboriginal. It is the 1960s. The TV is black and white. I imagine they carry spears. In class, I learn by heart the European explorers’ names, am fond of Leichhardt, who left only a one-way journey to be learned. Bunurong is a name I do not hear. We call the wetlands swamps. I read romances of two thousand year old martyrs in love with a Middle Eastern god, and gag on milk left too long in the sun. I use inkwells and pens with nibs. On my blotting paper the spots spread and join like too many venial sins. I line up for spelling bees, a champion of words caught out by seperation. I think that all the saints are white. A Catherine wheel pinned to the garage wall spins on Guy Fawkes’ night. St Lawrence asks to be turned to roast evenly.
A girl, born within a week of me, is stolen.