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MARALINGA POSTSCRIPT by Nisaba Merrieweather

The old lady speaks:

They gave us back a murdered land,

They gave us back a sick land.

I should be dead, I shouldn't be here.

I went everywhere and did everything I shouldn't.

I shouldn't be here. I should be dead.

There were cracks, you know,

Great cracks in the land.

We wanted to know what was there,

So we got the front-end loader

And dug up the cracks.

And it was like a mass grave,

You know, like in Bosnia.

And all the bodies were, you know,

Fridges, and washing machines, and dem things.

And all the grass was dead,

And all the trees was dead,

And the men didn't even hunt for roos,

You know, with dead grass.

So we cooked up a mess of flour

And only had that to eat.

And all our sheds,

The church was taken somewhere,

The big hall - we had a big hall over there -

The big hall went to Coober Pedy, I think.

All the sheds was sold and taken away.

I shouldn't be here. I should be dead.

Maybe I stayed alive, you know,

Just to tell you. I shouldn't be here.

They gave us back a sick land.

They gave us back a murdered land.

Author’s note: inspired by "Message Stick" televised 17th January 2010.


Nisaba Merrieweather was born in 1960 and is not yet dead. She started writing in 1969 at age eight, and hasn't worked out how to stop. Thankfully, all her output before this century has been lost. She is a storyteller and poet, and has won or placed in over 70 online poetry competitions in the last fifteen years. She has one novel currently being considered for publication, two others waiting for another final edit, a fourth in progress, and a fifth idea eagerly waiting its turn. Some of the prevailing themes explored in her work are the alienation in our society of marginalised people especially aging women, dark humour, LGBTQI life-experience, spirituality, and philosophy. Since the covid plague forced an early retirement on her, she has become more serious about her writing, and has found a second home in the Outback Writers' Centre.

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