Fotoula Reynolds – Her boy is my dad

Profile Reynolds LEP&W ANZ May 2021

Download PDF Here

Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.

Fotoula Reynolds is a retired Education Support Aide. She lives in the Dandenong Ranges in southern Australia where she convenes a poetry reading group in her local community. She regularly attends and participates in spoken word events in and around the city of Melbourne. She is the author of three poetry collections – The Sanctuary of my Garden, Silhouettes and Along the Macadam Road. She is published in four Australian anthologies and her work appears in e-zines, journals and reviews both locally and internationally. Fotoula is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Her boy is my dad

The light shone on
The day he was born
The youngest of four
A mother’s blessing

Her handkerchief is wet
With words of sorrow
I am the daughter of
The son who left for ever

She says her prayers by
The kantili but not even
A vigil lamp brings him back
Church parishioners cry with her

Bent forward in grief
I cannot rectify
The pain she bears
He abandoned me too

She howls and rocks
In the old wooden chair
Where she nursed her boy
Her boy is my dad

He kicked the colourless dirt
And made his way to the docks
Starved of hope, she died
His photo by her bedside


I imagine myself sitting
In a bay window and
On my side of the glass
There’s enough sun to
Light the pages of a book
On your side of the glass
You are hard to read

Paint me inside a green garden
Capture the scent of the orange tree
I hear the language of the eucalypt
Dry leaves awaken the soles of my feet
The Japanese maple is far from home
Satin-white magnolias are blooming
And they are just a love song away

Hallucinating behind
The slow-eye of childhood
Suspended dust particles
Float and summersault
In the pastel air and
You are the warm breeze
That brushes on my lost skin


Mum was a smoker
Back in the seventies
It was quite fashionable

Mum would burn sage
A different kind of smoke
And I watched incense rising

We lived up the top, near heaven
Mum said it was a high-rise flat
I called it our tower in-the-mist

The clouds were tissue-soft
And when I opened a window
The wind would make my eyelashes fan

When lightning cracked open the sky
I was right there, the glass shook
Thunderstorms kept the pigeons away

I made a paper plane and Mum said
The breeze will take it all the way to god
I drew mum smoking, first-class all the way

© Fotoula Reynolds