I know this world, my otherness.
I recognise its fingerprint upon my flesh.
Within a whorl of worlds


it is unique,

adjacent to the fold and to the flex
of your experience and time,
but not the same.
It’s particular. And it is mine,

though I hesitate to state that it belongs to me.

It’s more a culmination of alignments and desires,
its destiny the ratio of fate to chance:
a rising sun on any given day, a tidal slap,
the algebra of birth, an oyster’s seed. To me
this world is perfect and continuous as π.

You look at me, but only see my otherwise,
at odds with you. This is my burden, my disturbance.
It is the very much of me, that fragment which resolves
the worth within my unshucked shell. In my mind
there lives an inner eye/I which borders the irrational,
at once absorption and reflection, yin and yang.
If you must define the who of me, the x or why,
the whence from which my –ness is born, divine me
in the river’s sinuous meandering, the humming

of a single string, the murmur over sand of secret
nothings which relate to nothing else except

the syncopated rhythm of the sky, a lotus bloom,
the weight of water on the moon. In my mirror, I
am I, no other than the restless play of colour
on the surface of a pearl. And you, within your
certainty, who are you to judge the purpose
of a piece of grit?

I know this world …..

Victoria McGrath

Note – Orient:
1. of the East;
2. the iridescence of a pearl;
3. to find one’s position in relation to surroundings.


Victoria McGrath has been widely published in journals and anthologies in Australia and the US, including Best Australian Poems (twice). She was shortlisted for the Newcastle Poetry Prize and nominated for the Best Of The Net award. She lives in Yass, New South Wales, and is finalising her first manuscript.

© 2019