In 2011 I began the job of working with ‘un-Australians’ in ‘un-Australia.’ Teaching asylum seekers on Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands over the next three years became a border crossing of my own. As I heard story after story of suffering and overcoming, I began to hear a larger narrative that spoke to what it meant to be human, a story in which I found myself implicated. At the same time, large tides on Cocos meant other binaries like land and sea were blurred daily by the ocean’s dynamic movements. In all that flux I lost my father to cancer, and it was at this juncture I turned to poetry. In this paper I will explore how tidalectics and critiques of insularity informed a body of poetry that became a process of counter-imagining, helping me find my way back to ‘others’ and a world I thought I knew.