Where were you born?
I am often asked that.
What country please?
And if I say Papua New Guinea
the next question is Where?
And I have the village name ready,
and a story about the yellow face paint of the bush mekeo
but no real picture of where it is?
See I left there when I was two.
Sometimes people then want to insist
but you want to go back
to understand who you really are
and the next question
is why haven’t you done it yet?
So I try to explain my Papua New Guinea is
my mother’s Papua New Guinea
in snatches of motu
and village language
My Papua New Guinea walks
around dressed in my mother’s life
which is itself dressed
in experiences of a new land.
She is sometimes Papua New Guinea
missionary raised girl
and other times she…
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