Strawberry Juice


Strawberry Juice


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.


Imagine if

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

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

Soaks in

You cannot remove it and leave your precious paper intact





On black paper it would just soak in

Like institutional trauma

Like generational trauma

And disappear

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

My scrawls

Black 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.

Claire G. Coleman

Author: Claire G. Coleman

Claire G. Coleman is a writer from Western Australia. She identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. Her family are associated with the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Claire grew up in a Forestry settlement in the middle of a tree plantation, where her dad worked, not far out of Perth. She wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning book Terra Nullius while travelling around Australia in a caravan. The Old Lie is her second novel.

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