My Australian Death by John Grey

They painted my body
with totemic designs,
clipped off a hunk of hair
and gave it to my nephew.

Then they strapped me
to the trunk of a tree
for all the world
including the buzzards
and wild dogs to see.

And then, when
I was picked clean
down to my skeleton,
they painted my bones red
and squeezed every last limb,
torso and skull
into a hollow log.

At best,
I was entering the land
of my ancestors.
At worst,
I’d cheated a bandicoot
out of his home.

©2018 John Grey


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John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Visions International.


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