By Angela Costi
Creative Commons/mikecogh

You stand in front of glass,
it opens without knocking,
they have women unarmed
sitting at counters, smiling,
‘Hello, how may I help you?’
They pay people to help you.

There are words you must hold like blankets in snow:
‘human rights’
You repeat them as third language,
they feel hot on your tongue,
they make you remember a child with broken teeth,
remember a woman with torn womb,
the man eating the dirt.
Here, you can say them
again and again
to many strangers
who will take your story
like a startled baby.
In fits and starts, you come to know words
as soldiers standing at check points:

Your story climbs their walls and waits for you
outside their office
you cannot open the hearts of words
written as law.


Brolgas art work by Phoebe McIlwraith

NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN (We Look After This Country) – A call for submissions

Key Dates: Submissions open March 7 Submissions close April 6 NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN  (we look after this Country) Through a new editorial partnership, Right Now and Groundswell are platforming stories that explore the intersection of climate change and human rights, pertaining to First Nations justice. ‘NGALI GARIMA MALLA JUGUN’ is a series of pieces […]