Her eyes | Co-winner, PEN Mildura Indigenous Writers Award

Eyes wide and clear,
stare back at me.
She is so young,
who could have foreseen?

Dreams like memories,
are tools of reflection.
They bring forth notions,
which are often deflected.

In her eyes I did see,
old remnants of memory.
Long forgotten over the years,
almost like a reverie.

Of times where problems were not of concern,
where parents coddled and absorbed.
Absorbed the often sad truths of life,
which are frighteningly prickly and barbed.

Times of imaginary worlds,
of climbing to the tops of trees.
Eating sweet figs from these trees,
and gazing into the beyond carefree.

As I stared and stared into her eyes,
I began to slowly realise.
How exquisite her childhood was,
before burdens allowed her to capsize.

This child will grow to the lull of Norah Jones,
drifting about the house as if a chant.
Singing words like an artist wielding a brush,
her words like rain on a dry plant.

Her mother a steadfast rock,
the warmth of her hugs reassuring.
Her sadness leached into her own,
though with this her endurance.

The colour of her skin,
like a bright beacon.
It is what sets her a part,
and will ensure she will not weaken.

All this I saw as I stared and stared into her eyes,
she looked and looked into mine.
As I smiled she smiled too,
this young girl with Lardil bloodlines.

She was me and I was her,
her small face upturned.
As I awoke I vowed to be just like her,
and enjoy the small things of this world.

We never know how much time we have,
so do the things that bring us bliss.
Care for one another, this Earth and our health,
and be sure to love like a tender kiss.

Through the window of her soul,
I saw what we each possess.
A child’s heart is not feeble,
which we all try to suppress.



Image: Figs / Bronwyn Quilliam





Maya Hodge

Maya Hodge is a second year art history and curating student at Monash University. Maya grew up in Mildura and moved to Melbourne in order to study. She is a joint recipient of the Mildura Indigenous Writers Award (2017) and continues to write in her spare time.

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