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Familiar Outskirts - Lydia Trethewey

light on the pavement unsettled by bore-water stains and sap,

red crystallises on curious fingers kneading and snapping the world into place

the slips of our bodies press close to an ant hill or a log that feels like a ship

I met her in the sandpit digging for dinosaur bones her hair the colour of crushed shells cropped short like a boy’s, a faint smell of soy milk and lignin.

she plays the violin, the pads of her fingers embossed with strings and a strict routine

her movements are careful, otherworldly

we make our own language, cloistering in Jarrah tree shade cathedrals of secret knowledge learning clues and cryptic sleights

her parents admire the view across the valley from my house, tall windows open to a cascade of brown-green-brown

she lives on ten acres of hot underbrush and bush a wooden veranda with mandarin trees and the impression of wisteria disappearing into dusk

we play make-believe by the creek in the husks of fallen trees

she understands with me that a thought is corporeal, a thing moulded and tussled with

and each thought has a shadow an opposite equally held, tension in every decision

she knows how loneliness imagines belonging

how difference begins in secret


Lydia Trethewey is a poet and artist based in Boorloo, Australia. Her practice explores experiences of nascent queerness. She is currently undertaking a PhD in poetry at Curtin University (WA, Australia), writing an ekphrastic verse memoir. Her work has appeared in various publications, including Beyond Queer Words, The Ekphrastic Review, and Spineless Wonders. She works in the Department of Art at Curtin University, where she received a PhD in visual art in 2018.

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