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Forever, Flag

For Harold Thomas—Designer of the Aboriginal Flag

 

Forever in my blood, etched bleeding into my flesh
            I remember when you wept red; the pain
                        Little more than an itch;
            Wept, darker red than the scarlet of the ink
 
Without you, flag, my skin is slick, too pale
            People might not know who I am
            Red, yellow, black
            My skin forever, flag.
 
The yellow, the sun, is fading
            The red, the ground, the black, I
            Still strong, the bloodlines.
 
Someone once said, ‘wow, that’s committed’.
Someone once said, ‘you could pass as white’.
A blackfella once said, ‘welcome to my Country sister’
            He saw my blackfella flag first
            He saw my Noongar face after.
 
I wear a flag
            I have it needle-stuck and inked
            Up in my skin
My skin is a flag
Without the ink 
            Not flagged enough.
 
I say to them, ‘this flag is my identity’
I say to them, ‘this ink forever’.
I say to them, ‘I will die before
            I lay down my flag’.

Go to Claire G Coleman's profile to read more poems

Poem Audio

  • Claire G Coleman reads 'Forever, Flag'