Thunder raining poison

a whisper arrives. two thousand. two thousand or more. did you hear it?
that bomb. the torture of red sand turning green
the anguish of earth turned to glass
did you hear it? two thousand. two thousand or more
yams cremated inside the earth. poison trapped
in glass like a museum. did you hear it?
two thousand. two thousand or more
tears we cried for our Land
for the fear you gave us, for the sickness and the dying two thousand years of memory here
two thousand. two thousand or more
peaceful place this place. happy place till you come with your bombs
you stole our happiness with your poison ways
you stole our stories
two thousand. two thousand or more
our people gone missing. did you hear it?
where’s my grandfather? you seen him?
where’s my daughter? you seen her?
Mummy! you seen my mum? Dad!
two thousand. two thousand or more
times I asked for truth. do you know where they are?
two thousand. two thousand or more
trees dead with arms to the sky. all the birds missing. no birdsong here
just stillness. like a funeral. two thousand or more
a whisper arrives. did you hear it?
two thousand. two thousand or more
it sounds like glass. our hearts breaking. but we are stronger than that
we always rise us mob. two thousand. two thousand or more
you can’t break us. we not glass. we are people!
two thousand. two thousand or more
our Spirit comes together. we make a heart
did you see it? in the fragments. it’s there in the glass
two thousand. two thousand or more
our hearts grow as we mourn for our Land
it’s part of us. we love it. poisoned and all

Notes:

This poem is a response to the installation Thunder Raining Poison created by Kokatha glass artist Yhonnie Scarce. It is a statement about the impact of atomic bomb testing on our traditional lands at Maralinga in South Australia by the British government during the 1940s–60s.

Source: Poetry (May 2016)
More Poems by Ali Cobby Eckermann