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Getty Images/Tina Tiller
Getty Images/Tina Tiller

BooksFebruary 4, 2022

The Friday Poem: Seven stages of migration, by Maryana Garcia

Getty Images/Tina Tiller
Getty Images/Tina Tiller

A new poem by journalist and poet Maryana Garcia.

Seven stages of migration

I. Idolisation
Slide comic books from their original plastic sleeves. See caped heroes flip weightless across a two-page, neon-panelled sky. Think Dad and Superman have the same haircut. Think over there they are invincible. Think the thrill of soaring super, sure of step and springboard, strident in our landing. Forget the fear of falling. That could be me if I were somewhere else.

II. Remembrance
Pull keys from felt pouches. Take old books from behind stained glass, read them aloud in Tiffany light, faerie stories typewriter punched on the brink of some old war. Use your fingers to map deltas and highlands the termites ate into our encyclopedia. Try to memorise them. There’s not enough room in our suitcases for these histories.

III. Vision
Sit in the back of a flat-bed truck bumping down a dirt road, a tangle of kids with bony knees. Pass around sticky lychee, and spit the seeds into blurred grass. Hope you will return to see thick jungles growing in the berm.

IV. Longing
Light bonfires on battered concrete. Find the right fuel. Toss in old magazines, and watch the flames burn rainbow. Listen to sugar sizzle, and sparks crackle on contact with the night. Learn how, at the right temperature, everything burns.

V. Familiarity
Hold hands. Ride bus route 8 to the end of the line and back. Memorise all the stops. Unpick the habit of locking all car doors from the inside. Negotiate with the senior students for using the microwave because fried rice should not be eaten cold. Then come home to the familiar smell of garlic cooking in everything.

VI. Saturation
Hear love echo in the front door unbolting at 3am, in this week’s deal with the butcher (babysitting bartered for a pig’s head and chicken frames), in the crisp swish of a new school uniform. Spin, arms extended, through the open field next door.

VII. Acceptance
Understand the sharpness of shattered ceilings. Know the true burden of the sky is only equivalent to its clarity. Reply, “Let me carry this weight for awhile. It’s my turn now.”


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are currently closed and will open again soon.

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