Lateral Love (Kirli Saunders)

Lateral Love

I’ve been looking for lateral love
in all its forms

hoping to find it
pouring from hearts
that speak soft

        keep going bub

praying to see it
bubbling from
grounded spirits
that embody our old ways

  keep giving

that embalm
our Old People
who have returned

just as strong and kind
in this lifetime


with hands outstretched
to hold the lost

and guide them gently
back the right way.

Get out of your own way          

to make
your own resolutions

go where
the quiet ones go

Allow air time
for the things
that need to be spoken —
hear thoughts
deeply woven

and when you get there
seek out the truth.

Don’t be surprised
when thoughts you knew
were wrong

and what you thought
you felt
was right

When clarity arrives
have a pen ready —
to share the poem
you write.


Kirli Saunders is a proud Gunai woman, with ties to the Yuin, Gundungurra, Gadigal and Biripi people. She currently resides on Dharawal Country. Kirli is an award winning, international children’s author, poet, emerging playwright and artist. She manages Poetry in First Languages and Poetic Learning at Red Room Poetry. Her poetry collection, Kindred, was Highly Commended in Black&Write 2018. Kirli was Runner-up in the Nakata Brophy Prize 2018, was the inaugural winner of the WA 2019 Premiers Literary Awards – Daisy Utemmorah Award, and is currently working on her verse novel, Mother Speaks (Magabala). She was guest writer for the Australian Embassy, touring Jakarta and Bali in 2019 and will tour China in 2020 for Australia Writes. Her poetry has been published by a number of journals (CorditeOverlandPlanthunter) and commissioned for public art in Melbourne and Sydney, and she has performed her work at the NT Writers Festival, Queensland Poetry Festival and Sydney Writers Festival, among others.