Staying- Vivianna Vitikka

By January 15, 2019 October 22nd, 2019 No Comments

By Vivianna Vitikka

The plane touched down, a bony singing swan

‘You are home,’ so I’m told:

this is home.

Over thirteen thousand kilometres

and thirty-eight hours

you are twelve years old and the trees don’t shuffle the way you’d have them

The lorikeets cock their heads when you speak,

they know their place in these suburbs –

It is here

under the endless blue sky

where the sun blinds

scorching, nurturing,


on flaking white skin

the sun rubs off in your sleep, dry snow in the sheets

Down the street Paddle Pop wrappers

lie scattered by the milkbar

mynas fight the magpies over their liquefied insides,

battling on scolding pavement

bare feet can’t withstand

A question rooted in your brain

Existing neither here nor there

every roundabout takes you exactly where you started

no matter which exit you take

even if,

rising above, about thirteen thousand kilometres

looking down at your twelve-year-old self

and everything that comes with it

in these fields of houses with single-glazed windows,

swimming pools empty or larvae-filled,

mailboxes brimmed with real estate,

your brother kicking the football across the quiet

streets, towards you but inevitably into

neighbouring yards

It never gets so cold as it did, your toes

never feel too big under layers, instead

they scurry away from a flat possum

feasted on by insects who also know their place in all this,

while you,

the poor possum

so much of you is spread wide in some space

inspected and pulled apart in strings

But you weren’t meant to grow up

here. You are home

This is home. Here, you’ve stayed

despite your threats.

Stuck and shifting

your cold feet side to side, arms

up high with your fellow birds

waiting for the football to bite,

screaming down beaches and rooftops,

rooftops near beaches and near hills

looking for a bedroom with a sea-view

so when you wake, if you look past the flare in the window

maybe then you can see home.

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