Poetry: “Self Portrait, Australia” by Annie Hulkower


You could bounce a quarter off the soles of
my feet, thanks to a lengthy study in not wearing
shoes, this keeps me moving across the outback.
I smell like: hard muscles, desolation,
am swift like a mammal. If you peeled
them back, you’d see something
else snaked through my plantar facea—
it’s what keeps me moving.

These days, it seems my only reprieves
from dryness are steady rolls of sweat carving
intricate sedimentary systems across my legs,
and the occasional pink salt lake. Aside from
prey, blood is a formality of my past life.
At times, forgetting the continent I am trying to forge,
I am convinced I’m on Mars. Anyway, even my eyes
choke out tears in poofs. By day, they are busy
discerning heat waves from ghosts, locating
venomous things in fissures of the ground, and
squinting against the slow-fizzing sun. By night,

they study constellations who beam down,
but remain aware that I am foreign to their hemisphere.

My two ears yearn for more marsupial days, when I’d
hear bedtime songs, intuit the rustle of fur around my shoulders.
This journey has made an animal out of me.

I cannot grieve, so I throw my body
across the harshest landscapes.
I cannot grieve, I howl.

What I love, I simply devour.



Annie Hulkower is a poet and copywriter living in NYC. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in Brokelyn, Glittermob, and elsewhere.

Image: tenplay.com.au

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