Terra Nullius


Flying over Alice Springs
we see vast stretches of earth
       - red brown
and occasionally
a dash of green –
grass, bush or tree –
stubborn, reticent,
like morning stubble.
The many-veins of the River Todd,
snake back to the day
we haggled over
a Made- in- China aboriginal painting
at Melbourne’s flea market.

What we don’t see
are an entire people -
educated white,
and stirred
like sugar into milk.


Published in Arriving Shortly (collection of poems) Kolkata: Writers Workshop, 2011