Published in Overland Issue 241 Summer 2020 Poetry Mnemonic 2020 Yeena Kirkbright 1. Black Uncle takes us walking on Yuin Country. He shows us overgrown bush grape vine wrestling with sarsaparilla and gums. He tells us blackfullas would have burnt this back long ago, if they were allowed. He makes us tea in a billy, gets told by a ranger to put it out. Fire ban. A month later Uncle loses everything, returns home to find a half-burnt roo stumbling around. 2. Indigo My sister and I drive from Cadigal to Naarm. Smoke shepherds us down passed the bulrushes of Wodonga. We breathe blue sky for the first time in months. 3. Brown Out where Wiradjuri and Wailwan meet, marsh dries to desert. 3,000 hectares of reed beds burn. It doesn’t make the 6 pm news. 4. Orange A friend and I swing in hammocks up in Gringai bush. All the grass is dead. They are feeding the pademelons sweet potato. 5. Silver My cousin and I go camping at New Years’. We meet where saltwater and freshwater wed on Worimi Country. We bunker down in tents as sirens pass, lightning wreaks havoc on drought-washed hills. We prepare to evacuate. 6. Yellow I travel with my sister to visit Mob on Biripi and Dungutti Country. We eat chip sandwiches like we did as kids with Dad in the shadows of Wollumbin. We watch Nan eat lemons from the tree we sit under, while smoke from grass fires linger. 7. Grey Winter and rains will come. 8. Purple After the Jacaranda blooms we go into lockdown. We are locked in together on Gadigal land. I work from my bedroom and feel more trapped than ever. A manager tells me she heard an Aboriginal woman on Sky News say blak breathlessness isn’t a problem. Not in Australia. I am livid. I can’t argue. I need to pay bills. 9. Violet Rio Tinto rapes Juukan Gorge. Rio Tinto makes final dividend payment totalling $3.6 billion. Rio Tinto’s share price returns to six-month high. 10. Gold Someone complains about doing all of Brighton, the vulnerable are Rapunzeled in towers. Essential workers are scared of hunger, too scared to tell managers, they live with a positive case. 11. Red USyd calls cops on a student protest of less than 20. USyd’s Vice-Chancellor increases number of students in tutorials to 30. 100s of students return to protest at USyd. 12. White I travel with my cousin to Seal Rocks, we camp by melting white Worimi shores. All the seals are lost. We try to have a discussion about protecting cultural knowledge. We are interrupted by a neoliberal, tells us there is no point, someone will steal it for profit. He leaves before we can reply. He shows off his drone to private school friends. He doesn’t realise he stands in a midden. 13. Green I walk with my mother through curated rainforest on Gumbaynggirr land. It feels like the first weekend in history. It is the first we are allowed to travel. I walk with my father on Gumbaynggir coast. The winter sun, cool sand and breeze are medicine. Country mothers me and I feel replenished. Towards the end of winter the drought is breaking on the 6 pm news. Read the rest of Overland 241 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Yeena Kirkbright Yeena Kirkbright is a Wiradjuri woman living on Gadigal Land, who grew up on Country in Central West NSW. She uses pooetry to document her personal journey, exploring gender, identity, place, cultural displacement, and decolonisation. More by Yeena Kirkbright 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 16 December 202225 January 2023 Friday Poetry Poetry | Wombats shit candy Michael Farrell To avoid treading on a snake, I stepped on a land mine. Did this really happen, in my dream? No. Is it a fiction, then? Yes and no. The time I spend looking for socks is insignificant: lie, irony, or philosophy? Wombats shit candy. Joke – hallucination? This is in fact a truth claim. My poems: litanies of truth claims. 1 First published in Overland Issue 228 14 December 202225 January 2023 Reviews The moral risk of taking things too seriously: on Gareth Morgan’s When A Punk Becomes A Spunk Elese Dowden In his review of Lucy Van’s The Open, Gareth Morgan writes that Van writes 'against the impulse to ponder dutifully about the sins of the past and present.' This fucked me up for some time. What is it to ponder dutifully? But perhaps more importantly, how do we ponder in a way that's more … metal?