Why I keep a digging stick under my pillow

Some men want
to hurt us, men who have the strength
and cunning to break in, sometimes
in twos, threes, whole platoons.
And sometimes, after taking
everything, these men want
to rub it in.

Even though the point
of my digging stick could penetrate flesh
without much effort; the thick end may,
with a minimum of fuss, knock a man out,
crack a skull, shatter bone, this isn’t why
I keep a digging stick under my pillow.

The heft of memory
when I touch its polished hardwood
last thing at night, takes me back to
a chase across rough country, running with
women, a goanna going to ground, women
digging, dirt flying, the whack, burning
flesh, our greasy fingers …

Oh, the freight of dreams
rumbling up a highway north!
Swags under stars, the company
of women around fire, sparks flying …
How we realign the Milky Way,
reshape the whole bloody universe.

K A Nelson


K A Nelson is a Canberra poet who started writing poetry full time in 2010. Recent Work Press published her first collection, Inlandia, this year. She’s won a couple of prizes, been shortlisted for others, and has been published in the Canberra Times and elsewhere.

© 2018