This Order is not indigenous



A strange thing happened this morning as I ran my bath

I found brown, brackish water

spouting from my tap

not trickling


this brown muddy water was making its way

through the bowels of the city

down my aging pipes

into my private space

where I lay naked


in my cast iron tub


I used to hate bathing as a child

on the farm I preferred being muddy and wild

not clean and presentable

It drove my parents mad chasing me around the house

trying to pin me down to a bath



of the week

except Sundays when they would let me have it

a dam bath

as they called it when I would run

mouth open

into this delicious herbal tea

legs kicking me down into the cold dark depths

arms pulling me up into the warm bright waters

threading mud through my fingers

treading water with my toes

what freedom

of movement

my childhood



which is what I am thinking as I lie


in these dam waters

shallow from restrictions by order

of some authority I hardly recognise

as I adjust the temperature

just barely with my feet

stretched out

toes clenched


I feel my childhood being wiped away

like the steam on these mirrors that now reveal

an adult worried with lines

wrinkled by time

spent in the bath listening to news of corruption

exhausted by

news of the drought

draining my country of its resources

my people of their resolve once strong

now reduced to a trickle




I can see the cracks in my heels

remember the mud between my toes

that once walked these lands shared by alien and indigenous


coexisting in our unnatural permaculture

as it were



us believing we were letting nature

run its course when we were just neglecting

our own

for more weeds to grow stronger taller

soils to become weaker drier

as we turned our backs

on each other


The water is getting cold now

there is no more time

to wallow in these waters

play in these soils

the aliens will uproot themselves

or be pulled out

chopped down

red rings marking their execution



spent drinking from these lands

they once called home for a few hundred years

no more

noxious weeds

no more

hiding behind pretty Latin names

Acacia implexa

Nerium oleander

Rosa rubiginosa

The execution list is long

memories short

they have been found to be invasive

a species to be destroyed

at once

by authority of an




that people no longer recognise

but for the indigenous names

scrawled on their tags

laminated by their heritage

pinned down by their struggle



a weak hybrid

alien to even their own





Categories: Poetry

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