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Refugees returning home

25 September 2016 | Jena Woodhouse

Sudanese refugeesAcross the black hole of my solitude, the self-indulgent pit where I lick self-inflicted wounds, lightly step returning refugees. They know why they trek through forest, crossing rivers, day by day, on bruised and lacerated feet, in rain, on clay, on sharp-edged stones. For them there is no other way, and they are going home ... They have no doubt where they belong, the dying and the newly-born, no time to squander on regrets: they are going home ...

My life with dwarfism

21 September 2016 | Julie Guirgis

Julie Guiris baby photoBeing unique has its pros. It has made me a compassionate person able to see past the differences in people. And although I am a dwarf by birth I don't identify as that. Being the creative free-spirit that I am I have come to reject any labels put on me. I haven't let my medical condition define me; instead I have created my own identity. As the writer Helen Keller once said, 'Face your deficiencies and acknowledge them; but do not let them master you. Let them teach you patience, sweetness, insight.'

The sound of black

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12 September 2016 | Kevin Gillam

Black shapesI understand the meaning of her silence but don't have a word for it so I scour night sky for a term for the sound of black between stars and moon and meteorites and planets and us and come up with 'evol' and write it down and then show it to her and she says 'is that the root of evolve like before stuff moves or morphs?' and I say 'no, it's love backwards' and she stares at me and says nothing

Fighting the ancient urge to kill a free fire

11 September 2016 | Brian Doyle

FireOne time when I was about 12 my friends and I found a smouldering fire in the little woods behind our town's fire station. So we pulled it apart, and stomped it out, and threw dirt over the embers, and cleared brush away from the site, and then, dusty and sooty and inordinately proud of ourselves, we trooped into the fire station to report our feat. The fireman who met us listened carefully, and then he told us grimly that if ever we did such a thing again he would report us to the police.

Moonlight conventions

05 September 2016 | Ross Jackson

MoonI put in my journal: 'a full moon tonight, crisp and splendidly clear for our walk around the shore and back to the resort' ... What did the Israeli professor remark? 'It bodes well on Hoshana Rabbah that we are casting shadows in moonlight.' Though our Chinese friend had little to say following this evening's lecture, he was right about the yellow plum at the bottom of the lake.

The addict

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29 August 2016 | Peta Edmonds

Man crouches against wallAn addict shows me his rack of ribs, he's off to the slaughter house. An addict rubs his face like a brushed potato. The addict searches through bins looking for scraps of himself and his whims. An addict lives in a room at the weaver's loom, peddling his stories and drugs.

Young George

22 August 2016 | Geoff Page

Young George PellWhat's he doing in my dream, that cardinal from Ballarat? He's in some sort of seventies presbytery or hardwood hall, shirt-sleeved but with collar on and playing ping-pong like a pro, fully-focused, yet relaxed. Forehand, backhand, lob or smash, nothing is beyond his reach. The other player is unseen but plainly worthy of attack. There's just the click of celluloid foreshadowing the rise to Rome. No ball hit that's not hit back.

Grandchildren are your children twice over

21 August 2016 | Gillian Bouras

Hands of various agesWhen we were all younger, I wrote about my three sons. In the words of Sir Thomas More, their characteristics strangely tugged at my heart, and like More, I fed them cake, ripe apples and fancy pears. Among other things. But eventually there was a mild rebellion about the writing, in the course of which my eldest threatened to send me a bill. Now I write about my grandchildren, three boys and a girl, who are too young as yet to be so commercially minded.

My 102 year old grandmother

15 August 2016 | Isabella Fels, Peter Gebhardt

Old woman's handIs she 2 or 102? She can be either. My grandmother sometimes she looks at me in silence with wide naïve eyes. Other times pearls of wisdom seep from her heart: 'Forgive and forget my sweetheart Isabella. Chocolate is your enemy. A good salad is your friend my precious Isabella. Don't do unto others what you don't want done to you my cherished Isabella.' I hold her warm hand. She understands me. She completes me, now that my mother her daughter has left us behind.

Exposed, illegal, adrift

08 August 2016 | Frances Roberts

Asylum seeker boatThis cramped corner of the decking planks is all you have on a pelagic wreck, a Medusa raft, splintered, rank ... Part of an interlocking human mat, you lie exposed and frightened, to escape the below deck stench of excrement and illness. Scant hope here of sleep ... The true villains in this outcome bask proudly in their stand firm against illegal entry by the family of man.

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