Ann Shenfield

Those people in metros in places with names you can’t properly pronounce

They tether their cats and babies to their bodies 
hold their plastic bags in tight fists 

Their faces sometimes poised 
often resigned, possibly haunted

Though perhaps the haunting 
is your own invention

Because you see them as if 
from another time—that other place

Like the child with her arms 
in the air surrendering

Why would anyone do that 
to a child of three you ask yourself?

As if you were in that other place 
that other time—not this now

You think about those people, the women 
with their names like Maria, Olga 

And Ania—your lost original name 
how you might be one of them 

But it’s all too close to the enigma 
that you recognise as your mother 

Who emerged from somewhere there 
in much the same way

A child in the snow 
with her arms in the air 


Ann Shenfield works across a range of media. Her poems have received various awards including the Judith Wright Poetry Prize for her book You Can Get Only So Close On Google Earth( Arcadia). Her new poetry collection A Treatment will be published by Upswell in 2023. Ann’s animated films have also received various prizes and have screened at numerous festivals including selection to the Official Competition at the Berlin International Film Festival.