First place: Expert

Poor me

don’t know how it happened

think I got

a non-Indigenous girlfriend

who thinks she’s an expert

don’t know how she’s got her expertise

think I’m the first one she’s met


she tells me I’m closed to other sides of the debate

that she has the answers because she saw a television ad

for Recognition

and though most Indigenous Australians are opposed

she says it’s for our good

talks about drunks and sexual abuse ‘up north’

devalues my own knowledge (too urban)

and anything I get from black media

(not the whole truth

I wouldn’t trust it)

she likes to argue when she’s had a few

13 times more

her voice loud

(87%) of intimate partner homicides

fresh tears on my face

involving Indigenous people, are alcohol related

she’s drunk, I tell the booliman

still shaking. Sitting on the steps.

no, I haven’t had any

won’t let her forget this statistic

tonight it’s her

in the paddy wagon


Read the rest of Overland 223


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Ellen van Neerven

Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning writer, editor and educator of Mununjali Yugambeh and Dutch heritage with strong ancestral ties to south east Queensland. 'Chermy' appears in van Neerven's newly released second poetry collection Throat (UQP, 2020).

More by Ellen van Neerven ›

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