Flying Fish Cove
Tegan Jane Schetrumpf (Sydney University, Australia)
For the 50 asylum seekers who lost their lives
in the Christmas Island Disaster of July 2012.
You were so close.
Blue tarpaulin, battered and frayed by the wind,
rustled over your heads, frantic, familiar. The wood
slick from its journey, dark with drink
groaned beneath you as you kneeled and prayed.
seemed to assault you sideways,
cast straight up from the bowels of the ocean,
a frothing white cascade
alive with screams.
Great brown clods broke away
and surged over your heads,
wood…debris. That’s what we call it
when it’s impossible to tell
what we have lost.
We had to watch you drift,
motor dead, closer and closer, the pregnant waters
bruised, swollen, furious.
The coast that should have welcomed you,
the safety you used talk of feeling
once again beneath your feet
became terror. A blank, inevitable wall
of erasure. You curled your children under you
hoping to protect their bodies
with the breaking of yours.
Tegan Jane Schetrumpf writes poetry, essays and creative non-fiction. Published in Wet Ink, Swamp, Theory of Everything, Southerly, Meanjin and Antipodes, she was shortlisted for the 2013 Jean Cecily Drake-Brockman Poetry Prize and will be included in its upcoming anthology. She is currently undertaking postgraduate research at Sydney University into the turn of the 21st Century and its effect on Australian poetry.