Mona Attamimi

Mona Zahra Attamimi is an Indonesian-Arab. She lived as a child in Jakarta, Washington DC and Manila.  She moved to Sydney at age ten with her family. She has studied Anthropology and Women’s Studies at ANU and ISS in Holland. Currently she is completing a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney. She enjoys writing poetry and short stories. And through writing and reading, she is interested in exploring diverse experiences of cultural displacement and marginalisation. Her poems have appeared in Southerly and forthcoming in Meanjin. She is an editorial assistant for Mascara Literary Review




In my hard boots
I wandered into a field of thistles
crushing violet weeds,
bits of bricks and tiles,
broken glass from a house 

I once knew.  My mouth was wild,
foaming her name.  I heard my child’s
moonless moaning and my house
bursting into a cake of flames. 

After the rain, by the river-death,
I slept for a night in the shadow
of a broken boat.  I piled humus
under my head and dreamt
of a throat

tangled in weed,
white as bone, my wife’s
goosefleshed thighs floating
in the swamp that sank
our river-home. 

As I fold and unfold
a sleeping bag
by an alley and a railway track,
I brush away
the phantom of a man
drinking coffee and breaking bread
inside his daughter’s home.     

Now, my hard boots hide
crooked toes,
crack bush burrows,
barks, twigs and lie
about the state of my soles.



Do not say a prayer, shed a tear,
nor place a wreath on my grave,
but bury me instead under a mangosteen
tree once I’m stiff like lead. 

Once I’m dead, drip mangosteen milk,
and wring the sweet white arils
till its juices soak
my funeral shroud.  And when I die, 

embalm my head and tuck
my teeth in black-purple rind,
let the mangosteen roots coffin
my bones, skin and spine.  

When night comes, let me rustle the leaves
with my ghostly arms, and let me
scare the thieving monkey that climbs
on its fruit-bearing branch. 

Once I’m freshly dead and buried under
the fallen fruits, let the soil and grass 
pickle my heart and liver
in mangosteen’s heavenly pus.