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Lou Smith (University Of Melbourne, Australia)

your skin
layered sweet, layered thick
with ointment made from
soft orange flesh,
soft stink of Pawpaw
on lips, on hands, on fingertips

your skin was powder,
baby down feathers in morning breeze
I would touch your earlobes, your arms,
the flexion creases of your daily routine

and your thick black hair
you plaited and spun with fingertips
kinks of paths of here and there
from end to root

…..ovals in cross-section

but my hair grew blonde
honey-hued like the darkened comb
skin the shade of olive oil
you coated in Calamine
to ease the sting
painted cool dusty white, uneven
over mozzie bites, and scabs,
and here below the eye
one scar

Lou Smith is a PhD student in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. Her poetry has most recently been published in Mascara Poetry and Kunapipi: Journal of Postcolonial Writing and Culture. Her thesis explores concepts of place, memory and the family record.

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