Stains on a Map
(Linda Godfrey)

too late to hill up asparagus to blanch it, to drink tea in a Russian port in winter, torpedo the Atlantic. Reflux stains the map with the telling of your journey, across the doldrums, the sound of one door closing,

Like every family man your concerns are papers on the lawn, a suburban fibro built on a peanut shell dump, a hearth, a slow cooker, watch the clock, years stretch ahead,

losses are old scars on your hands and knees, you get scared, you want stability, not just the height of the children pencilled against the bedroom door but width of shoulders, girth of a waist,

signs that you don’t have to think of climbing over mountains, police, their dogs, checkpoint harassment, the ache in the hollow lined with an old man grunting, sniffing and snoring, bitter memories of the gutter, waking in the night,

can’t remember whether you have one sibling or two you were separated so early, your mum and aunty sent cakes, grey fog letters that never reached you, but you have a photo of your sister from when she was in an asylum,

a walkway between two high rise buildings, a yawning gap below, the sinew that keeps both worlds upright, steadies you, keeps you afloat, keeps you with a dead person’s voice on the answering machine, keeps you…


Linda Godfrey is a poet, writer, and editor. She has worked as a freelance editor, program manager of a writers festival, a series editor of microliterature anthologies, reader, manuscript assessor, judge and publicist, workshop presenter. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in journals, anthologies, audio anthologies and online. Linda is a fiction reader for Overland magazine and the recipient of a Varuna Longlines Residency Program and an Australian Society of Authors mentorship. She has curated Rocket Readings, readings of poetry at the Wollongong Art Gallery (part of the Sydney Writers Festival) and Viva La Gong — 2007 to 2018. Linda is a member of the Future Directions Committee of the South Coast Writers Centre, presenting the weekly literary event, Word Salad.