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Nathanael O'Reilly

Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis Andy Leleisi'uao
Enigmatic blue on a weekly basis - Andy Leleisi'uao
A sixth-generation Australian, Nathanael O'Reilly was born in Warrnambool and grew up in Ballarat, Brisbane and Shepparton. He now resides in the United States. His poetry has appeared in Antipodes, Postcolonial Text, Southern Ocean Review and elsewhere.


For Celeste

You are supposed to arrive
In seven weeks from now.
We talked about making
You for over seven years,
And have spent the past
Seven months watching
You grow from the outside.
The ultrasounds gave us
A few glimpses inside -
We heard your heartbeat,
Learnt your sex,
And took home our first
Pictures of you. I realized
That your head is exactly
The same shape as your
Mother's in her baby pictures.
I'll be happy if you take after
Her in many other ways.
For a few months now
I've been able to feel
You kick, punch and flip.
Lately I've been watching
Your mum's belly ripple
And change shape as you search
For a more comfortable position
Or engage in a frenzy of movement,
Burning off the calories
From your mum's grape juice.
Today, while eating lunch,
Your mum balanced her plate
On her belly. As you moved
The grapes rolled around.
At night, when your mum and I lie
In bed and she snuggles up to me
From behind, her belly presses
Against my lower back and I
Feel you kicking or punching.
I chuckle and tell your mum,
"She's not even born and she's already
Kicking my arse." I'm sure she's tired
Of the joke by now. Seven weeks
To go and we are ready for you.
We painted and decorated your room,
Filled it with new furniture, curtains,
Books, stuffed animals, toys, clothes,
Blankets, a sheepskin rug,
Beautiful jumpers and mittens
Knitted by your Nana in Australia.
We hung a mobile over your cot
And spelt out your name
In wooden letters on the wall.
I even bought a soft soccer ball
For us to play with together.
We can't wait to meet you,
To see which one of us
You look like. Will you be tall
And skinny? Will your hair
Be blonde or brown? Will you
Have your mother's nose
And your father's ears
Or receive the Quigley toes?
Will you love learning
Like your parents, will you
Be athletic, artistic, scientific?
You'll certainly be a traveller,
A dual-citizen, a child
Of parents from two hemispheres,
A seventh-generation Australian.
Your relatives on both sides
Of the world await your arrival.
Your birth will change lives
And bestow new titles. Because
Of you, people will be called
Dad, Mum, Nana, Pa, Grandma,
Aunty, Uncle, Great-Nana
And Great-Pa for the first time.