Sharlene Allsopp

After Flanders Fields

[No Man’s Land]

In Flanders fields my Poppy bled.

No crosses then, broke bodies spread

   blood-red confetti ‘cross north sky.

   Relentless; screeching mortars fly,

scattered symphony pelted lead.

He is the dead. Hung from a rope.

He lived, felt love. Blackfulla trope

  rules don’t apply: not all dead lie

      in Flanders fields.

Whose quarrels feed red poppy beds?

What foe renders black men dead?

   Whichever torch flags furl on high,

    lies of liberty sail on by.

Plastic poppies prick those not spread

        in Flanders fields.

Sharlene Allsopp was born and raised on unceded Bundjalung Country into the Olive family. She studied Writing and Literature at the University of Queensland and loves her role as a tutor with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit on campus. She was a 2020/21 fellow with The Wheeler Centre’s Next Chapter program, during which she completed her debut novel The Great Undoing due for release in 2023.

She has been published in Griffith Review, Portside Review, Jacaranda Journal, and Aniko Press and was the University of Queensland’s 2021 Ford Memorial poet. 

In 2015 she helped found a charity for domestic violence survivors in Brisbane where she lives with her husband, sons and daughters, and the darling of her life—a fluffy puppy called Morty. 

She holds strongly to a few opinions; the only bubbles worth drinking are French, low-fat anything is garbage, and Samwise Gamgee is the protagonist and hero of Lord of the Rings.

Published by swim meet lit mag

swim meet lit mag is a young online publication based in Brisbane, Australia. Swim meets bring people together; swim meet lit mag seeks to offer an accessible space to read and publish all kinds of creative work from around the world, with a particular focus on local emerging writers. Now in its third year of operation, swim meet lit mag plans to continue expanding its catalogue, which is, and will always be, free to access. Each issue is framed by a swimming-related theme, to which the responses are always wonderfully surprising and diverse. 

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