'in the National Museum of Maltese Archaeology' by Annamaria Weldon | States of Poetry WA - Series Two

We met at the Neolithic display. I was staring
at the loom-weights, suspended in a glass case.
Handcarved stones, smaller than seashells

a tell-tale hole bored through their middle. That’s when
I noticed you, uncanny yet not out of place
holding a loom-weight. You seemed at home with fibre

your fingers felt its tensions, slack or taut,
sensitive to texture, strong hands threading
the weft, sinews familiar with the shuttle’s path

muscle memory of when to hold and release.
Back, forth, you weaved row after row, as friction sloughed
filaments of flax, infusing the hut’s dim light

with motes that clogged your lungs; each year
you strained harder and harder for breath. What
sustained you, arms aching as they bent and stretched,

shoulders lifting and lowering to the music
of your tuneless harp? Did your eyes sting?
Could you close them sometimes in that dark,

give yourself to the reverie and bridge the cleave
in time where we met, staring at those loom-weight stones,
handcarved and smaller than seashells, a tell-tale hole

bored through their middle. Suspended in the glass case
they have never stopped telling your story. Spellbound
I found myself called back by their slight shapes

by the weight of memory you left behind.

Annamaria Weldon

Annamaria Weldon

Annamaria Weldon

Annamaria Weldon’s writing residency with Symbiotica UWA prompted the poems, essays, and photographs of Yalgorup National Park in her last book, The Lake’s Apprentice (UWAP, 2014). She has just completed her third poetry collection, inspired by Malta’s Neolithic temple culture. She researched and wrote during several visits to her birth island, most recently as 2016 Writer in Residence at St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, Valletta. Annamaria’s previous collections were The Roof Milkers (Sunline Press, 2008) and Ropes of Sand (Associated News Malta, 1984). Her poetry has been published in Australian literary journals, anthologised, broadcast on Radio National, and has been staged in several collaborative projects including contemporary dance and art installations. Her awards include the inaugural Nature Conservancy Australia Essay Prize, the Tom Collins Poetry Prize, and a shortlisting in the 2016 Peter Porter Poetry Prize.