• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 09


They left their birthplace,
Mama's Mama's Mama and her man.
They sailed seasick, homesick, determined
to sing freedom, build a brand new life. They landed,

laboured, loved, and in time died, like all of us,
each one called at their allotted end. They wave through
framed sepia, remind descendants what they braved
to give opportunities, to us. I barely see the photograph

it's sat so long on cardinal tiles, by the streaked window, gathering dust, sunset to sunrise, in our family kitchen.
Yet when we eat, at table or outside in our cramped backyard, Great-great-grandmama sits alongside

great-great grandpapa, raised again. Olive oil, pasta
dishes, pastry flattened by an ancient rolling pin jig
with riffs and shanties, accordian tunes, songs
in tongues now lost. Their natal countryside flares,

in our shanty town, I almost hear a cockerel
and his three cockadoodle-dos challenging us
to own allegiance to our roots. A mouthful
of fresh rosemary, our sacrament to sacrifice.