They never went back. I return
to a Wanneroo Nursery to meet them.
It was meant as a slur. They claim
Neapolitan but we are hill people poor.
My uncle whose head is chestnut
wrought brands me a testa dura.
I’m awed by her hubris & wish
I was so sure. A garden fork
the red nails of an assured Signora.
A stowaway immigrates, roots
settling. The Bunning’s hoe is bent
so, I pinch-back new growth.
Il mezzogiorno is dark olive, the hue
of land labour. She boasts a terrona.
I keep my nails bare to not seem
gaudy. There’s a weed in the olive
pot & dirt in the cuticles of her
red tines. All oil was olive once.
Ma Pacchiana asks, “olives to eat
or for oil?” I am a pilgrim
on the frontier of the suburbs
& the old world. They under-carry
their weight to not slow down
the procession. Continuity is lore.
My childbearing hips are spares.
Each ant bears a fixed load.
There can be no stand outs.
Each ant triple steps, soldiers on the
Appian Way stopping only for
food & whores. Our bodies are
detritus. We are all food.
I tip the honeyeater floating face
down for my husband to bury.
An ant carries it away.
I bite my nail ‘til it’s stub-like.
 testa dura – hard head
[2 mezzogiorno- twelve o’clock, reference to southern Italy
 a terrona – a female farmer
 Ma Pacchiana- a Calabrian woman in traditional dress
The science inspiring the piece:
An Appendage was inspired by observation in my backyard. I found a dead New Holland Honeyeater in my backyard and before I had time to bury it the resident Bobtail carried it by its wing under a Banksia shrub never to be seen again. I also bit my nail and watched an ant carry it away and both of these inspired the idea of how we are all just food or resource. Furthermore, I layered this over my Italian ancestral migration and how I am living here on host/stolen land and my uneasy relationship with identity.