Laniyuk reflects on her poem 'Silhouette' for POEM FOREST 2022.

The park across the street from my apartment has Gum trees that are so big I could probably fit into the trunk three times. I watch people walk past and birds flying in and out of their leaves. Possums leap between branches at night and in the morning I dodge being swooped by a magpie. I wonder about the humour of the trees. Are they laughing at me while I eye of mother magpie, ready to defend myself? Are they looking at me when I walk home from work, crying from a text message I received, wondering what happened? They witness so much happen around them every day. They’ve seen so much change, development, new roads, new people, arguments, loving whispers, new babies, recently widowed solo walks and often they go unnoticed. Unappreciated for the shade they provide on the hot days, the beautiful smell they bring in the crisp mornings, all the families and generations they host and all the stories they hold. These trees were here long before I was born and hopefully will be there long after I die.

During my sunset walk I pass baby Gum trees that are thinner than my forearm. I know how it feels to be so small and for change to happen so slowly. For our efforts to take time and for our shadows to slowly get bigger, providing more shade for those around us. There’s peace to be found in the longevity of trees and their resilience amongst colonialism. Our quiet family members, giant in their shadow and gentle in their presence.