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Louella Sullivan

Louella Sullivan

Louella Sullivan learned to type poems one-handed whilst bouncing small babies on her lap. She did an MA in Creative Writing at Rhodes in 2014 where she completed her thesis Bitten under Robert Berold. She is a Drama, History and English teacher as well as a part-time lecturer at Rhodes University. She has been published in Aerodrome, New Contrast, New Coin and Itch. Her poems have been described as "polished, poised and vivid". In 2016, her poem "Refugee" was longlisted for the Sol Plaatje European Union Poetry Award.
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:19

The Garden's Memory

A garden is harder than a marriage

you can’t throw sex or wine at it

to pacify the wilderness that threatens.


A garden remembers holds to


you laboured to weed out. As you

tame it,

clear the Eastern Cape clay it springs


slaps you.


A climbing rose, a pale matriarch,

grows vicious despite my secateurs.

A pear tree, fat with lichen,

defiantly bears wizened fruit.
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:09

My Grandmother's Name

In her 70s

the rigid clack

of a label maker

stamped out

her neat name

to be stuck

spirit-level straight

on cupboards, Tupperware,

biscuit tins and dustpans.


Her widowed father,

open-handed helpless,

had passed her on to his sour sisters

to be raised in a house of chiming clocks

and maudlin tapestry cushions.


Even as a child she marked everything

in strict Victorian capitals:


in case anyone should

think to take what was hers

in case anyone should

forget (again)

where she belonged.


Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:29

Childhood Home

Childhood Home

When they retire, my parents
will sell our childhood home.
Hot-cracked slasto by the pool
The fading shadows of a long-gone frangipani tree
The echoes of children’s voices
Grow paler each year.

My brother is wistful:
I wish I could buy it from you guys
He dreams of a new wife and babies
growing brown and happy there.

The rope swing still hangs from the avo tree
The stone birdbath endures in the rose bed
The azaleas grow fatter every year.
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:25

Last Roadtrip with my Brother

Last Roadtrip with my Brother

We drive through the unruly hills of the Wild Coast
The potholes bigger than our Mazda 323
Little boys and girls fill the ruts with cow dung
Begging money for their service

The stones on the beach
We take shots – one of us
Posed awkward against the background of sea
C’mon boet take the bladdy picture

The acrid mosquito coil
And hot December night
Oozing with hippie drumming
I on the floor, you on the bed

Neither of us sleeps
We rise at dawn for cold showers
And a quick getaway, leaving cash
And a note: Never coming back here
Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:20

The Bench

The Bench

That afternoon in the damp, green spring
I see you and Chappie: at seventeen
You are all angles and sharp edges
With your against-all-school-rules afros
Smoking menthol cigarettes
Tossing a ball for Blackie

Today I want to unearth a smoke from your box
Hidden under the loose bottom of a side cupboard
And sit on the bench with you — my brother
Even though our beloved Blackie is long gone
And no-one smokes anymore
Monday, 01 June 2015 11:29

The Silence

Today as she was swept off to school
I teetered like a forward slash.

Every afternoon
I ache for silence.
Every afternoon
as she sings,
cries, tosses toys / Yet
                                   in the pin-drop void
                                   of morning
                                   I miss her
                                   and the chubby noise that
                                   trails in her wake.