Updated: Jun 28, 2020
I walk through that land.
That lush green ground. I smell that moist earth.
Ground covered leaves, fallen branches, trees.
I heard them all softly crush beneath my
soul, passed my skin.
My skin flirts with the sun’s dancing light.
Caressing, retreating under leaves. Jealous, the land lures the sun from me. Seeps
through my skin, my clothes, my grey hair. A strange, exciting taste.
My eyes wide open; blinded.
We pass one concrete block. A Boundary marker.
Concealed in ground-covered leaves. Bright, the sun reveals this vast property. Happy,
the sun’s light leads us back along one line between cement blocks.
Across that line we see red ground. Trees cut down.
The land retreats.
But not for long. Land is waiting for us. Did you see? Do you know boundaries?
the land asked. Past that hidden concrete block? Near the house you dream to build.
Across the other line between the boundary markers. Where the trees still stand,
the sun still flirts. Dancing now, the land and leaves make way.
Land and sun are one.
He is a son of that land. The land with no concrete blocks. Where the trees still stand.
His forebears walked that land. Land and son are one. He knows boundaries.
He points across the land to my dream. Put your house there. We will be neighbours.
Land and son are one.
I try to retreat now. Land’s seduction knows no boundaries. That block.
From a rounded body, my roots began.
From the soil, through the cement, my sap flows.
Branches, shoots, leaves. I am my fathers’, my mothers’ daughter. My brothers’,
my sisters’ sister, My husband’s wife.
My sons’, my daughter’s mother.
The sea soars beneath. My eyes look up through the salty water.
Sun’s light calls me. My heart races to lands with no boundaries
I draw these new roots back to me. I cradle them.
From my rounded body they came.
Roots of another tree. Implanted in me.
My blood. For months after.
Comes to life, excited, driven, terrified—of land’s seduction. Magically, land entered me, luring my new roots, my branches, my leaves away from me. Aroused.
A sleeping sense. Until that day
I walked through that land.
Father. His grave. His name inscribed on steel laid on a concrete slab. Laying under his house. His land. Lifeless. I see more graves. Others laying on the land.
One grave. Many graves. My dream fades.
Awake I see his land. Their land.
It’s not my land. No. Boundaries.
Mother’s rounded body loves the spirited new roots. The branches and the leaves.
Loves land, the sun, the neighbour on the concrete block. I cry a daughter’s tears. A mother’s fears. Through my trees I search. I dream. Fallen branches, ground covered leaves. Our house.
It is not our land.
I walk on the land. My dreams in my blood, flow through my body, my skin, to my
feet, through the concrete, into the ground. My roots, aching, search for a place in the
land beneath the concrete block. My father’s land. My mother’s land. State’s land.
A son’s land. Land’s land. It’s not our land.
We are roots, seeds, branches, leaves. Blown by the winds, over oceans.
No boundaries. Seduced by lands.
From rounded bodies we come. Roots of many trees.
Looking up. Through the lands.
Sun’s light. Knows boundaries. Leads us home.
* This poem was first published in Crawford Development Bulletin 80 https://crawford.anu.edu.au/rmap/devnet/devnet/db-80.pdf (Citation: Rooney, M. N. (2018). (K) No (w) Boundaries: Returning through urban lands' seductions. In P. Thomas (Ed.), Development Bulletin 80 (pp. 115-118). Canberra: Crawford School of Public Policy.)
Photo credit: Michelle Nayahamui Rooney, Lorengau