It’s what she leaves behind

By Sandra Renew


It’s what she leaves behind.

It’s the devil in the detail.


For the future,

a life in another, safer country,

she dreams the big things….

hope for freedom for herself,

to walk with her face bare to the sun,

possibilities for her children to grow

and learn in schools without threat,

marriage for her sister,

to a man of her own choosing.


But, for the past,

its what she leaves behind,

the small details…

the water on the courtyard stone in mountain light,

the sparrow tree, on the dusty street

where thousands of sparrows

return at dusk to fluff and chatter and

sleep until the morning call to prayer,

the mountains that divide the city

with their attendant, floating, watchful hawks,

the certainty of the mullah, explaining the cosmic universe in myth,

the anxiety of her husband’s mother,

the green tea and sweets to welcome visitors,

and circle of radiant heat from the bukhari stove,

with family crouched in winter warmth

and stories and legend going back a thousand years.

It’s the detail of the life she had.

It’s what she leaves behind.


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 […]