Bird has died of fear in her cage
cuttle bone’s harried
her mate’s chattering at his mirror
bashing the bell
our child studies ants migrating for water
she pincers a lagger and licks him all up
follows the rest to their nest with a stick –
it is her nature
they all die so easy
not like us
I’m reading my guts coiled in the usual
usual shapes but casting
a differing inference
People like us who read things into things,
Who really knows? What the hell?
You’re drinking in the kitchen,
the whites of your eyes roll back
like rearing stallions.
I want to know whose butts are in the yard
seeing we don’t smoke anymore?
They are burning leaves again, you say.
It’s a kind of meditation
inviting fire or keeping it away
getting rid of the rubbish
is an occupation
for these ends of days –
Dig a hole, I say.
The oil stain in the drive has Rorschach wings.
I scry the bathwater we kept for the plants.
The dog laps at it and growls,
I pull out the plug.
I can read the signs but can’t do anything
about them. The past is here and the future, so
I read the toilet bowl and the dirty
hand basin and the drips from the tap
are very telling
I don’t even need
to really see or listen
as the evidence is here.
Then I flush it away.
An ant holds a bead of water,
his mandibles quiver.
The dog is frothing with snail killer,
next door’s cat shat
in the kid’s sand pit.
The washing stinks— smalls, colours, whites,
delicates soaking, old blood
It’s getting hotter and we talk about rain
as if it is the only topic, rain or flood.
What we’d do if we got washed away.
How long we could hold our breath
what we’d grab on to.
- 96: NO THEME IXSUBMIT NOW with M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRO AUSTRALIANwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones