Islands

by Kathleen Bleakley

i dream of islands, glass-bottom boats, waters clear

and safe as houses before they're bombed

fish scales, slippery as yesterday's news

i dream in islands, swimming in sea chambers / among coral

fish teeth lodge themselves on my dinner plate

i dream of mary, my mother's mother's mother

and many more / too many mothers to name

a ship with white sails

mary kenny from kilkenny set for the great southern land

mary sailing with the ghosts

of her parents – trampled by a gelding

orphan mary taken by her neighbours

to old sydney town

i dream back to horses & carts on the island

my ancestor watching her ma & pa tumble

under the wheels and hoofs

it could've been the potato famine, irish left in droves

 

 

i see a photo of a girl with wild olive eyes

running through deserts without names

or family

i see people packed in boats, brine-like / salt of fear

the truth thrown overboard / yellowing already in today's papers

From Griffith REVIEW Edition 34: The Annual Fiction Edition © Copyright Griffith University & the author.