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Image: Getty Images/Toby Morris
Image: Getty Images/Toby Morris

BooksApril 22, 2021

The Australian Poem: Uncovered, by Omar Sakr

Image: Getty Images/Toby Morris
Image: Getty Images/Toby Morris

Australia Week: A poem by Sydney poet Omar Sakr.

To mark the opening of the trans-Tasman bubble, The Spinoff is casting an eye across the ditch all week – read our Australia Week content here.


The train shivers my body over the rails.
Whole swathes of country become unseen.
I imagine the land breathing a sigh of relief
when, at last, I am closed into a box called
home or resting place or vacancy. To be
perceived is such demanding work. We
enter midnight languor. The leather seat
beside mine holds a woman for a time
and then doesn’t. I was warned about this,
not to touch the absence. It will be filled
by another kind of warmth if left alone.
The train occasionally whispers such things.
I write my father’s name on the window,
and it, too, fades. Through the smear
I return to witness: the night makes love
to dirt, to river and pond, copse and corpse.
The moon rises and falls with the song.
I cover the longest leagues in darkness
with strangers all marked for different
departures. I miss them, the unwashed
and overly perfumed, and then I don’t.
The city nears, a bright and fearful beast.
I can smell its breath from here. The city
wants to be known, more than anything.
I look away. There are too many eyes,
a surplus of stars, real and false, all abuzz
claiming that I, yes you, can be the centre
of a universe. I was once, and now I’m not.


The Friday Poem is edited by Chris Tse. Submissions are welcome and will be open until the end of April. Please send your poems to

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