Pinjarra and Me – Graham Burchell


(Pinjarra, the saltwater crocodile at Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium)


we came into the world in the same year


chased out of a shell 

and into the muddle of mud and mangrove



snipped slapped weighed and wrapped


for you 

it was crocodile breath the press of a mother’s teeth 

and the first flush of river


for me 

it was the touch of fabrics voices the breath

of last adult meals and afternoon light 


perhaps we were born on the same day

same moment to be axis points on a globe



with your long leathered face 

silent hunger and cold blood in brackish water



with my green bones and jellyfish flesh turning 

towards cathedral bells beyond the walls of the room



we are each sixty five years old separated by glass

along the way we’ve made mistakes



for being in the wrong place after a flood

for becoming stranded on a Queensland farm 



how long have you got


now look at us


DSCN2854Graham Burchell lives in South Devon. He has four published collections. He has an M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. He is a Hawthornden Fellow, 2012 Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year, winner of the 2015 Stanza competition, and runner-up in the 2016 BBC Proms poetry competition.