licensed alexander cimbal
by Erina Booker

so we made your last-wish trip
right into the Red Centre
the country of belonging
where spirit sings in your bones
and light splits into pure spectrum colours
from red dirt to violet rocks

I’m still living this
though you are not,
photos tumble from phones
as startling as spiders
from a drainpipe —
a deluge of memory
that bends me in two

and now a print is framed
gold dingoes
red dirt
Kata Tjuta
with its a cappella chorus
violet on the horizon,
another relic

I hold it firmly against me
and all I can think is
“I got you, babe.”

©Erina Booker

Previously published in the author’s collection A Cobbled Path (2017). 

PHOTO: Entrance to Uluru (Ayers Rock) climbing point (Australia).  Photo by Alexander Cimbal, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. Uluru is sacred to the Pitjantjatjara, the Aboriginal people of the area, known as Anangu. The area around the formation is home to an abundance of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Uluru and Kata Tjuta, also known as the Olgas, are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: From early schooling, Australian children learn geography of Australia, included in which is the central region, containing the iconic rock monolith Uluru, and the “singing rocks” of Kata Tjuta.  These are set within vast stretches of red desert, and close to many other significant rock formations, gorges, and billabongs (water holes). Aboriginal myths and legends concerning the creation of the land during the Dreaming, or Dream Time, abound. Many mythical creatures were responsible for the creation, and one that is well-known, in different localities, is the Rainbow Serpent. A home of the Rainbow Serpent is contained within the structures of Uluru. It is both a mystical and alluring landmark. My late-husband had wanted to climb Uluru, 1.6 kms of near-vertical ascent, since he was seven years old, and despite being fatally ill, we set off to do this. Success was heavily against the odds, but against those enormous odds, he succeeded. It was truly a remarkable feat, and an essential event with which to mark his life’s span.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A photo of my late-husband Garry in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia (2015).

booker 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Erina Booker is a poet, musician, and counselor in Sydney, Australia. She has eight published collections of poetry, contributes to journals and anthologies, is a member of the Fellowship of Australian Writers, and the North Shore Poetry Project. She collaborates with a digital artist living in Ithaca, New York, writing ekphrastic poetry to accompany his artworks. They have also produced a book together, Coalescence, Erina Booker and David Kessler (Blurb Books, 2014). Erina gives seminars on the craft and forms of poetry in Australia, and internationally to school children, via Flip-Grid. She contributes ekphrastic poetry to art and craft galleries, and judges competitions. Her books are largely available through Lulu Press, though the latest A Cobbled Path is available from She has a page titled Uneven Wings on Facebook.