Published in Overland Issue 215 Winter 2014 · Uncategorized Borderlines Jenni Nixon 1. forty-three West Papuan men women and children five weeks in wild seas in a traditional double outrigger canoe drifting four days without food or water washed ashore on Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula relocated to Christmas Island − if sent back we will die one of many who served prison time for raising outlawed flag pro-independence activists for decades are hunted in the jungle a slow genocide: raped imprisoned tortured shot bodies thrown in the river houses burnt land occupied boys from the remote highlands − sent alone to the sea while at the northwest point on Christmas Island construction cranes swoop across a new detention centre another prison for those who flee persecution 2. out-of-control bushfires burn red across the skyline cricket bats thwack tennis balls to racquet’s pock in scorching summer heat frolic in a pool dive in the ocean who cares about refugees? climate change is absolute crap − says Tony Abbott evacuees from drowned islands homes swallowed by the sea are economic migrants we deliver straight to PNG the Australian navy tows asylum boats back cuts them loose in Indonesian waters saves refugees from drowning who surrender then to suicidal despair seeking asylum is a human right − our colonial plan: dump ’em overseas fails to meet international standards the UN found conditions on Manus Island harsh hot humid damp and cramped 3. next we must stop the birds crossing sovereign borders send them packing process them in cages offshore as the European pigeon said to an Indian mynah: go back where you came from! Jenni Nixon Jenni Nixon is a Sydney author, poet and performer. More by Jenni Nixon › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 15 September 2023 · Friday Features Activating the poetic spirit as friendship John Kinsella I’ve always had the aching feeling that—as a text to be shared among friends and maybe eventually ‘enemies’—the soul-body dialogue poem is a way of arguing towards spiritual certainty in the face of earthly corruption and doubt. First published in Overland Issue 228 14 September 202314 September 2023 · Indigenous rights The ballot box does not translate ideology Jeanine Leane The Voice referendum is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the younger demographic to shape the future of the nation. Future generations of younger Australians will have to live with the outcome of October 14 for quite some time. If the referendum is defeated, it mean a nation was given the opportunity to recognise its First People and refused it.