The Siberian whimbrel, all the weight of a human hand
Gestures to the artic wind as it rises, never looking back,
As if the greater insult is to survive winter’s chokehold.
The fingers of its wing feathers adjust reflexively to tiny
Snowflake fluxes like a glove scraping ice off a windshield,
As it leaves behind its dog-bowl shaped nest & two million
Other frozen craters on the tundra. It flees before the cold’s
Pack-ice strength crushes the life out of it; before its food
Reduces like a supply of cut firewood in a Russian folktale.
From this curlew’s eye view; Asian shore habitats chopped
Up by reclamation butchers, their fatty coastlines trimmed
Of their energy. Here, its oil-gauge bill fits the fiddler crab’s
Hole neatly, when it tests the marine engine of our estuaries.
On Nudgee beach, waders muscle up for their flight home.
On Not Having Encountered Snow, Aged 43
1 February 2013