Ellen van Neervan-Currie

Ellen van Neerven-Currie is a descendant of the Mununjali people of the Gold Coast area. She is a recent QUT graduate in Fine Arts and lives in Brisbane.




Taking a break from my usual weekend warfare
I drive with my mother through the shifting rain
into Mununjali country
a roo bounds across the road
we meet at the pub and I order an
egg sandwich, orange muffin and a newspaper
on the last ten years of your life
We are cousins
though we grew up on different sides of the axis
different sides of the moon
got to remember
same grandmother
same grandmother
We don’t share memories
You recall a football game against boys
you fell down and
I turned on the fella who did it
This violence sounds entirely
not like me at all
I remember you came to live with us
when your house burnt down
you were amazed at how many socks I had
and you asked me if you went to my school would
you be the only dark girl in your class
This was the first time I realised that
others could see us differently
We drive up to Nana’s resting place
in front of Mt Barney
You take the wheel where I am a passenger
My uncle says you’ll teach me in a paddock
He seems to know all them old stories
While my mother is quiet
Got to remember
same mother
same mother
Used to the flies now I sit under a gum
This land heals all my city blues
I haven’t the language for that
You read me after all this time
I haven’t the language for that.

How My Heart Behaves

My coin purse is lined
with receipts of women I’ve fucked and left
Last night on the bed of a lover
slipping a singlet over my breasts
about to leave
I find myself suddenly desiccated
with need of child
Will I always be
a stranger to the sound of webbed feet
a moon in the orbit of others
I untangle from her sleeping form
Leave all my change under the pillow.