Poems from Atika Dunlop

An Ode to the Trees

i want to know how they do it

i want to know how they have the patience

to sustain hurricane and drought

they wait for rain,

not knowing when it will arrive

but waiting anyways

as if the e.t.a was irrelevant

and yet they still choose to grow

i want to know how they do it

how they choose to adapt

regardless of how harsh or unpleasant

their surroundings may be

cold days wrap themselves

around their trunks, gray skies

loom above menacingly

do not phase the trees

they simply shed their leaves

shifting shape and forever unfazed

and wait for the sun that spring promises

i want to know how they do it

how they are naturally creatures of selflessness

how they were made to give

when all we do is take

no matter how many times

they are cut down to size

they do not refuse to grow again

always seeing the best in us,

they are simply happy to be here,

simply happy to help

i want to know how they do it

because i could always use

a sequoia sized dose of patience

grant me the ability to wait for the rain

even if i am in a drought

i want to be a natural creature of selflessness

canopying my leaves over you

so you can rest easy in the shade

Twenty Candles

i have no wildfire ashes

no barren paddock the color of tar

in which i am shackled to sow

seeds. no inhospitable claustrophobic

closed in quarters in which i was called

to claw myself out of, no.

i have no history of tragic unloving

neither bitter & cruel nor ugly

i have no scars the size of white blank pages

to lend my blood soaked words to

i have been granted the luxury

of always knowing there will be

another human heart for me to fall back on

a best friend to nurse a bruise

to suck venom out of wounds

and to make me laugh

a laugh so sickly saturating that the

pain dissipates, never sees the light of day

i look behind me and see only an

idyll. grass as green as tree leaves

the day after rain

it is with great reluctance

that i tip toe my way

into the next field over

grow they said

but never on your own

here is water and sunlight

and a phone to call home

Sticky Pink

pink frays weave themselves through the blue

of an almost winter sky on an almost June night

and everything is quiet except for the hum and buzz

of the five o'clock traffic home / beyond my glass

sliding door /the pink disappears with every / second

glance up as if the gods were so hungry for something new

that they swallowed it whole /now their

teeth ache and their bellies are full of cotton candy sugar /

only a few minutes have passed since i first noticed

the pink in the sky and now it is gone and soon it

will be the color of blotted fountain pen ink

not a single strand leftover of pink /and i have almost forgotten

what it looked like to begin with / i always wish iPhone cameras

could take better pictures of skies so i could show you

what my movable feast looks like / but they don't

so i fumble / through a poem about deities with wicked sweet

teeth instead and i know that sunsets happen everyday

and this is calling what is not as though it were / there are no gods

licking the sticky pink off their fingers as they turn

off the lights / there are only silent sunsets that turn

to darkness all on their own /

and isn’t there always a little magic in that?

About Atika Dunlop

Atika Dunlop is a writer and student living in Brisbane, Australia. She self-released her debut chapbook “Fast Flying Youth” in the summer of 2016, which explores the tumult of the tail ends of teenage girlhood.


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