The last tourist

By | 3 August 2020

For the birds at Tangalooma, Moorgumpin (Moreton Island)

White-bellied sea eagle

it was a sight to sea me, bird of pray nip cormorant
neck n yank clean off, blood flushing beige
sand red, her wedding dress now russet as screams
swoosh me to abandon my picnic but no, thank u
i’ll keep ripping n rummaging til every organ
morsel is skinned n gorged

Bush stone curlew

My party trick? I stay up all day and only sleep
when the very last tourist does. But there’s always one
awake, torso tipping, guts splashed up
in the garden like upended beer bottle.
I’ve only had alcohol once, funnelled with pincer beak
as beetle chaser. Tasted like seawater
gone vinegar. I live in this 90s paradise with Michael
Jackson tunes swelling near signs flashing
WordArt fonts. My knees ache swollen and I still feel
hungover. I’m a life jacket
time loop, a nocturnal
error. I’m one scream away
from erratic rebirth.

Whistling kite

Cheeee chk chk chk chk cheeee! Cheeee
chk chk chk chk cheeee!

White-faced heron

Harry’s wedding was a tragic sight: two lanky grey birds
preening and feather fluffing ‘I dos’ – then whiptail flash
and swoop of white
and she was gone, tucked up
limp in grappler claws.

Now bride haunts shoppers’ finger-smudged window
as groom’s ghost-grey reflection. He paces
and fusses, paces
and waits. She should
be back soon.

Welcome swallow

softly born & tourist-raised in boneyard
museum of eggshell & nest …… a living artifact
sailing on aircon winds, asking …… Can I land
on your shoulder? …… I weigh almost
nothing …… Can I land
on your shoulder? …… Can I land ……


I’m counter shaded like cormorant: burnt
on top, bleached under belly, like a flipped
Top Deck chocolate, like bleeding mud
inking snow. You fling silver fish spiny-head first
and I swallow it whole.

I enveloped a chihuahua once: joyous jaw-full of dog
until companion yanked leash like flossing.
I always want what I shouldn’t have. Like fish-filled bucket
all to myself. Like hand, plastic, hook.

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