Alison Whittaker


Pull over here, watch some spinning nightly fights reach

across a highway’s ribs. At the Kamiloroi Highway’s spine

two signs rise and speak and re-speak. Their slur contents impeach

a mountain feature to the west. Move your breath with its outline


at which some racing things have come to rest. Others trudge upon.

Ev’ry night, the sign decries ‘Gin’s Leap’; and it’s replied with scrawl.

On this site, dry cliff, all quiet: the blak re-namers brawlin’ on.

White ones sparring back. Write, revise revise revise revise revise the sprawl.


Winangala! Your feet depress land story-holdin’.

The sign-ribs come down, back up. It matters, the tale—

whose many versions woven?—woman flees marriage, woman’s child stolen.

Your engine paused. Its useless gasps all join the hale


with yours and theirs. See dawn emerge. Your windshield but filmed dust

Gin’s Leap de-signed, re-named again. As it must and as you must.



Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet and Senior Researcher at the Jumbunna Institute. She was a 2017-18 Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School, where she was named Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Alison’s second collection, BLAKWORK, was released in 2018 with Magabala Books and was shortlisted in the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.


‘rework’ appears in Alison Whittaker, BLAKWORK (Broome, WA: Magabala Books, 2018). Reproduced here with permission of the author and Magabala Books.

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