When they ask her what advice she might
have for them, what she’s learned
on the battlefield of life,
she tells her daughters they need some time
between the bellicose bookends of
childhood and alliance: time
to erase the submission of infancy,
to pen a prelude to their memoirs,
to discover self-sufficiency,
to compose a vocabulary of resolve,
to devise chapters in which they will forever
write their own lines. Time
to learn that loving themselves
might be the ultimate act of war.
Victoria McGrath has been widely published in journals and anthologies in Australia and the US, including Best Australian Poems 2014 and 2015, and was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize in 2013. She lives in Yass, New South Wales, and is currently finalising her first manuscript.