Priya Gore-Johnson

Priya Gore-Johnson is an Indian-Australian poet, writer, aspiring academic, and textile art enthusiast based in lutruwita/Tasmania. Their work tends to focus on grief, liminal spaces, and fragmented identity and the ways in which these topics are often intrinsically and intricately linked. They are deeply passionate about translation and reception studies, especially when concerned with classical Sanskrit literature and the contemporary “so-called Australian” diasporic experience. You can currently find their work in the University of Tasmania’s student magazine, Togatus.



Polaroid of a Girl with a Sparkler

Happy New Year!
Is it though?
The world is ending and everyone is dancing.
Faces awash in the yellow glow of sparklers, bodies moving freely to the slow syncopated beat.
The air is full of the impenetrability of youth, the apocalyptic glory of it all.
Each note, each breath, bursting and scattering like fireworks.
Happy New Year!
I am in it.
It’s all around me, I can’t escape it.
My body moves against my will, my hands engraving gold into the air.
I smile. I laugh.
I am so sad I feel as though I cannot hold it all within me.
It could spill out of me at any moment,
saltwater running through my hands.
Mindless chatter.
Endless dread.
You are gone and my world is ending.
Everyone looks through me
but never at me.
My sadness flashes back at them like light off a mirror.
It blinds me too.
My world has ended!
I want to scream and scream until they understand it,
the way it sits twisted and brittle inside of me.
It’s not that I want to stop the party
or break the illusion
that allows them to revel in the ambrosia of their youth.
I just want them to look at me.
Look at me. Look at me. Look at me.
Can you see it?
The sharp teeth of loss?
The cavern of grief?
The swirling, endless, void
filling me up and up and overflowing
down my cheeks and arms and belly?
I used to be one of them.
The weightlessness, the pure unbridled joy, the drunken haze spinning reality to unreality.
Now I can’t imagine it.
Reality sits balanced on my first rib, poised to drop like a rock to the pit of my belly.
Nothing is the same
as it was before
and it never will be
My world ended last year. How can theirs keep going?
Look at me. Look at me. Look at me.
Tell me that you see me.
Tell me that you see that I’m not the person I was.
Tell me that you love me anyway.
I feel the immense weight of what I’ve seen and felt and lost pushing down on me.
The grey uniformity of hospital beds.
The monitors keeping rhythm with our drowning hearts.
The profound horror of it all.
And your soft voice in my ear:
You’re going to have to cry about this, I’ll tell you that one for free.
I love you. I love you.
And theirs, a gentle echo of yours
moving across worlds.
Happy New Year.