Upside-down for a Bat is right way up.
They’re like me – different, but made with the

right stuff to be who they are.
We’re upside-down people

~ Sara Kianga Bat ~

The Mother Whales

*For my great grandmothers, Kyanga and Jane, and the sands upon Whom they walked.  Photos by Sara and Country.

Who are you, Grandmother Girl?
Where do your footprints
Press like a child’s kisses
Into the salty sand of Country?
Where do they lead
Into the rhythmic waves
Who dance passionately
With the moon and wind?
In the mid 1800’s
Your sandy footprints
Were picked up between
The wet fingers of the sea,
Each step dissolving into
The forever time that dreams
The memories of these shores.

Some of your footprints,
The ones lightly skipping along
Tide lines of connection,
Still drift on the currents
Of salt water blood
Flowing along coastal veins.
Others dance to the songs
Of mother whales
As they whisper lovingly
To the babes in their bellies
Or at their sides.
Did you stand on this beach
One quiet dusk evening
To sing your hopes
To those passing whales
That they might carry them
Deep into the womb of the sea?
And when their calves returned,
Now mother whales themselves,
Did your footprints sink
Further into the sand
With the heaviness
Of your own pregnant body?

How many steps of
How many grandmothers
Have whispered their walk
Into the ears of this land?
How many of their
Footprint wells
Have filled with the water
Sliding from the backs
And breasts of mother whales?
Grandmother Girl,
You are from this place, always,
But your footprints – carried on
The ancestors of these waves –
Have walked the oceans
And rivers of the world,
Wandering for one hundred years
And more, until
A drop of your footprint
Stepped back into the blood water
And home water of
My descendent body to
Walk me back to your shores.

My feet sink into the
Sandy echoes of your steps
As our hopes stand
Back to back,
Generations apart, but
Unbroken, remembered.
The mother whales
Sing into my dreams,
Where you swim alongside
Their slow dancing bodies
In the fading corroboree fire
Of the twilight sky.
May they carry my footprints
Deep into the womb of the sea
To walk together with you,
Grandmother Girl,
As my feet press kisses
Into the salty sand of Country,
Where you are from.




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