A Cadralore

generous celebrations
parcels wrapped in newspaper
intriguingly initialed
in thick black texta

we’re all born a bit shrivelled
sultana'd in the womb
but my ears retained it
curling from my skull
sometimes I pin them back
and imagine mixing
two-part adhesive with a match stick
on a small off-cut of weatherboard
the heady smell

adventures piled on
doorstep after doorstep:
domes that sang,
wish-coloured outriggers,
an island with no fresh water,
and red socks to my knees
on a tiny train in a jungle
heading for a mine

an old thank you letter
mentions a teddy
and a healthy appetite

imagine a dipperful
of cold water down your back
the jelly-leap of a gecko
naked flesh, and then the hum
of air conditioning
while you sleep


“In certain versions of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, various fairies or witches are invited to a princess’s christening, and bring her gifts. One fairy/witch, however, is not invited, and in revenge for the insult, lays a curse on the princess. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.”

9 thoughts on “Gifts

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