A gift to myself

too long i have spent
days in sadness,
denying myself the joys
which fill my heart.

my mind told me
my body was the problem,
and that i deserve to be
punished for its size.

it didn’t occur to me
that i only know and love
that which i know and love
because my body allows it.

i will no longer deny myself
the privilege,
the right,
that mother nature gave to me.

i will spend countless hours
drifting out to sea,
i will see my own contours
in each wave.

the space between each set
is space created for me.
my expanses don’t even touch the sides
and the ocean will always carry me.

its power is no match for me.
now i see that there was no battle.
its power is no match for me.
it is a source begging to be harnessed.

it will find its way into my pores.
each drop quenches
the parts of myself
i had starved.

it is a bottomless well,
and at the bottom she stands
and offers me
a drink.

a gift to myself.

Sophie Nankivell, Poetry Editor

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with them it was a time 
of no rules 
and at first glance,
what a thing of freedom. 

but the lack of rules meant
there was no umpire 
to mediate, the infringements,
the violations. 

with them it was a time 
of many moons
which, as i came to learn, 
were only visible in darkness. 

but the lack of light 
clouded my vision and 
gave you the false anonymity   
you needed to hurt me how you did. 

with you there are rules, 
ones we have agreed together, 
which means the field is levelled 
and we are here, together. 

my voice once again has value, 
and my yes means yes 
and my no means no
and you will still be there. 

with you there is the sun, 
and it casts its warmth over us 
and the waves go on, as they always did, 
but now i can see them. 

the golden glow 
allows me to admire the good, 
of which there is so much, 
in you.

Sophie Nankivell, Poetry Editor

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home coming

home coming

coming home is as close to time-travel as i may ever get. the nostalgia drips from my skin. 

it mingles with the dampness of my sweat. it seems to remember the cool swimming hole, & the blue t-shirts. 

my body remembers more than my mind. a smell, a sound, the sensation of an embrace. 

impressions linger longer & i mull the taste of home over in my mouth. it is sweet. 

i can’t help but miss the familiarity. i can’t help but miss the ease. i can’t help but miss 

you. don’t wait for me, at the top of those stairs. i’ll be there when i can, it’s only a matter of time. 

Sophie Nankivell, Poetry Editor

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they tell you to
taste the rainbow 
they tell you 
there’s nothing to hide. 

the very same people, 
repulsed by your pride. 
if it isn’t a commodity, 
a source of cash flow, 

they’d rather you wouldn’t 
be so open and on show. 
well, that’s too bad, 
I’m sorry to say. 

it’s our space to occupy, 
proud and here to stay. 
this didn’t come easy, 
to forget is to be numb. 

a war hard won,
with battles to come. 
there is strength in numbers, 
so be here with us. 

the red of your blood, 
the orange of a new day, 
the yellow of sunshine, 
the green of the grass,
the blue of the sea, 
the indigo of gems, 
and the violet of light. 

the earth shouts it’s support,
it wants us to thrive. 
and thrive we will, 
whether you like it or not. 

we answer it’s call, 
with “love is love”, 
the planet speaks back 
that “love conquers all”. 

Sophie Nankivell, Poetry Editor

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Thank You, for Your Service

Thank You, for Your Service

she stands, defiant and brave,
face towards the unforgiving unknown.
a few places in the world
had just handed women the vote and said, “here, take this, if you must.
we’re sure you won’t know what do with it.” the first wave had momentum,
and we knew the break.
Strachey, Lutz, Caraway…
thank you, for your service. 

the clouds were slow to part,
allowing for a clarity of understanding, for that which we had known all along. they bore down.
grey and heavy and not wanting to lift. we were stronger.
we pushed, up and over the mountain. the light pierced through.
Roosevelt, Murray, Pikas…
thank you, for your service. 

they say it takes time to turn a boat, but it helps if the tide is on your side. some of us had time,
the lucky ones. 

the ones who appealed to the expected,
who could wait for the sluggish vessel.
some were not so lucky.
some had to turn the blood-tinted tide themselves. Jorgensen, Coccinelle, Flexner… 

thank you, for your service. 

the colours flowed, fast and thick.
they twisted and turned their stoppers, attempting to plug that which flows freely. explosions of pigment,
unable to be scrubbed off, even with
the strongest bleach.
no more being muted, subdued, hidden.
we stood in plain sight, unapologetically vibrant. Friedan, Java, King…
thank you, for your service. 

we are not precious flowers.
has that not been made clear?
our power is unlimitable, inimitable. our souls, bodies and minds, 

charged with electricity;
given freely by those who came before. “liberation!” pre-packaged and neat,
a whetted palette, an insatiable need. Steinem, Davis, Reddy…
thank you, for your service. 

you spoke wisdoms.
truths, deeply universal, yet somehow denied. your controlled voice of reason,
covered up by the hysteria they wanted to hear. they wanted to claim irrationality,
emotional screaming of the unhinged.
there is no shame in feeling,
you reminded them, with undeterred decibels. Butler, Crenshaw, Attwood …
thank you, for your service. 

we grew, up and out,
in strength, numbers and size.
our roots ran deep,
our branches reached out,
always outstretched, to take back
and reoccupy our rightful space.
the physical manifestation is undeniable. “we exist”, you declared, “we are here”. Bader Ginsburg, Hill, Ensler…
thank you, for your service. 

the century turned, still, you resisted.
freedom lowered itself into the grip of many;
yet, stayed exclusive and unattainable to more. our ancestors had set the stage,
swept away the broken glass,
turned on the lights and pointed them back at you. but you were no longer actors.
you were enough, as you’d always known. Sirleaf, Lees, Walker…
thank you, for your service. 

you walked, with conviction.
knowing, deeply, the truths of being.
love is love
and autonomy is empowerment.
single words, “yes” and “no”,
resonate and that which you choose is so.
of course, some tried to extinguish your brightness, nevertheless, you persisted.
Obama, Given, Thunberg…
thank you, for your service. 

for all i have said,
for all there is to come,
we cannot possibly scratch the surface. our lives had been taken,
held in the hands of those with power. you take it back,
piece by piece, and hand it to us; gently.
for this, we say,
“thank you, for your service.” 

Sophie Nankivell, Poetry Editor

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How do you sleep?

How do you sleep?

Is there room for me there?
Between you and the new girl,
Lying with you,
Does she weep?

You know, even after,
I never told a lie,
I never asked you why.
“He’s honestly a good guy”.
I should have been the one to cry.

To cry rape.
To cry assault.
To cry out.
To cry tears,
to rinse away your unwelcome touch.

I don’t need much more room.
Maybe more today than I did that day, sure.
But who doesn’t grow?
Upwards. Outwards.
I stretch my body.
Pulling it apart like putty.

Moulding it with warm hands,
against its natural will.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?
I pushed it in on the days it felt too big.
Too broad.
Too unending.

I’ll ask you again.
How do you sleep?

Maybe, if you both lie on your sides,
Facing in,
Forcing me to stay in between,
We will still all fit.
We could do. We did,
But, after, you slept.

“I should have watched where I stepped.”

I still haven’t slept.
I still haven’t wept.

Sophie Nankivell

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