My page is spotted with strawberry juice, they were plump, pink
crisp, surprisingly juicy, the juice stains anaemic on the page, fading pale like my family’s skin.
No solid stain like blood these, to bloodstains they would be weak, soft, faint, vanilla.
When they dry they will dry brown.
I am not now used to writing on paper
I forget how it stains, how indelible marks on paper are
So unlike a screen, no matter what sticks to a screen you can just wipe it off.
I had forgotten how, if you rub paper, even the cleanest hands leave a mark.
They kept records, the whites, in ink on paper all those years ago
Long before computers existed. The paper was fragile; as fragile as the lives
whose endings they recorded.
The paper was fragile, the words were not.
Screens are hard, glass cold, breakable but not tear-able, durable in their glassy way.
Splash them, drip strawberry juice on them and there is a chance of salvation, a
Chance to not harm if you wipe it off. Bloodstains do not stay on the screen.
When they killed
When they got permission to kill
It was by email
Easy to delete.
They did it on paper
They killed on paper before they did it with guns, horses, poison
The paper is still there
Too precious to discard.
That is why we know what they did
Our lives, our deaths were recorded
On paper and on paper they soaked in
Like strawberry juice
You cannot remove it and leave your precious paper intact
On black paper it would just soak in
Like institutional trauma
Like generational trauma
No stain would show
Yet the stain is still there
You can write on black paper but you cannot read it.
My page is stained with strawberry juice and I like strawberries, simultaneously
Sweet and tart
My page is stained with scrawls of ink
I have tattooed the paper, notice how the black of the ink covers over the white paper
Notice how the white page is empty
Notice how paper covers rock
My Country, my people are one
Notice how easily paper tears.
I am eating all the strawberries, I have no guilt, I like strawberries although they
Are whitefella fruit
Although they are grown on whitefella land.
You like strawberries, whitefella him like strawberries, even when they are grown
On stolen land.
I am certain they were grown on stolen land, the death, the blood, you’d think it
Would make the fruit bitter, sour fruit from bitter soil
Sweet fruit from bitter soil
Tart fruit from bitter soil.