by Evelyn Araluen


After Gig Ryan


It is not a question of desire

if I still felt I would feel fear –

this is how we remember spines

why we become depilate


It’s a question of scale

moral economy maybe

dissociation or déjà vu

           but mostly

who is most convincing

in fermented evening


Thought I gave back gender

to the wild west

but I have stained the shirts

of every man I’ve held

with ‘you know you don’t need

to wear that’


Which is to say,

           not this art

           not your body


We dress in shoes and frocks

we never otherwise believe

and no matter what you         or the night

           is taking

with the dawn we slip back

into justifications

exchange our vices

like contour might kill me

like I ask for anxiety

like you didn’t promise


I don’t want a gun

but I don’t want to hold you

like this.

Evelyn Araluen is an activist, poet, educator and PhD candidate working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. She is a founding member of Students Support Aboriginal Communities, a NSW network of grassroots activists. Her poetry and criticism has been published in Overland, Southerly, Cordite, Rabbit, and The Best Australian Poems 2016. Her microfiction will be appearing in Landscapes, forthcoming with Spineless Wonders Publishing. Born and raised on Dharug country, she has ancestral connections to the Bundjalung nation.

‘I Don’t Want a Gun’ was first published in the 2017 edition of Growing Strong, a zine/magazine put out by the University of Sydney Women’s Collective.