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Poem: I thought I Knew Her

Books & Poetry

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We can think we know someone, but this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution from Kristin Martin of Adelaide shows that sometimes the most life-defining events are kept hidden.

I thought I Knew Her

We’d worked together for half a year,
graduated from polite How was your weekend?
to accepting each other’s advice about our kids.

That day I’d entered the lunchroom
with my mind at my desk,
when I was grabbed by the silence.
The usual clutter of chatter replaced by one voice.

I saw her tension and that
sideways neck tilt she does when she’s thinking
before I processed her words.

Dad was killed. My younger brothers too.
Mum died on my arm. I was nine.
Pol Pot, you know?

And in the jumble of my thoughts were
How could you survive that?
And raise a family?
And go to work?
And live your life like anything matters?

And how could I not know?

Kristin Martin lives at an Adelaide beachside suburb with her family. They have a number of pets: five spiny leaf insects, two canaries, two turtles, five fish, and an uncounted number of earthworms. Kristin’s poems and short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including Tadpoles in the Torrens from Wakefield Press in 2013 and on her website:

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.



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