The new place



        now children,                               it’s time to begin the rotations



        yellow light

step upon the timber floor                           you remember this place


        recite along the line

                                                    you know this homely institution



the body makes the mark

        can you feel the cotton in your hand?                                          touch

                                      the first sense                              haven’t found the words yet

the form is                             pre-lingual

breathing, drying

                                                     the shape begins to solidify



tasting                       to learn the world

        everything here is      to be shared



you recognise running through a world full of knees, stiff fabrics

                                      unknown faces             the skirt above locates you

the caretaker is soft         

                       the touch is     childhood memory

                       the print is       cultural memory

        we’ve commenced your phase of

                                                     lingual expression

        everything to plan                     it will continue

        for now, you are safe



reaching for the glove      soft (but with a slap)

the flesh which holds the touch                yields

                       speaks to the hand     alone without the body


                                                                                   how fast can you run?



group time!

to understand this part, we must mark it

the concept of time           learn this

                       is abstract

                                      we quantify it               to qualify it

you’re beginning to be     institutionalised

it’s not so bad though       the new societal reality



quantifying memory                        repetition helps

                       repetition helps           move to fairytale to learn this part

to forget what came before

        see these pumpkins   (you may have to look hard)

they’re hiding in your      cultural memory


grotesque goldilocks all wrapped up in scarf and cloth

                                      the old ways                  will be overcome




        hands in movement                  and always a task to do



are you feeling big now?

        the dough has turned to bread

                       time to wash away the play                 hard grit soap

does it remind you

of the caretakers pink hands?


(so different to your own)

                                                                                                  (forbidden thoughts)



we could not feel

what had been held                          the mark upon the sand

                       absent form remembers

speaks of then

                                      (precognition)              to now

memory creates the object

a residue left behind

                                      and unlearning is a long journey home



Read the rest of Poetry in Lockdown, edited by Toby Fitch and Melody Paloma

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Jazz Money

Jazz Money is an award-winning poet, filmmaker and educator of Wiradjuri heritage. Her poetry has been published widely across Australia and reimagined as murals, visual art and video art. Jazz is grateful to live on the beautiful sovereign lands of the Darug and Gundungurra nations.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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