there is no story
just letters the cormorants form
in the sky
when flying
in changing

their feathers are not water-proof
you bought him an umbrella
these birds are well adapted though
to life in and around water
he wasn’t dressed for Melbourne weather

like eggs
hope and belief are self-contained

the brown warbler’s song
goes up in scale like a question
keeping finality at bay

the yellow-throated honey-eater
takes wool
from clothing and floor rugs
it is not distressed
by snow

death is an umbrella that doesn’t keep off the rain
tears came to his eyes
when you leant across the café table
took a thread from his top

for their nest lining
goldfinches have been seen taking
cobwebs from clotheslines

the nest is neat, cup shaped
made of grasses, cobwebs, strong fibres,
with a lining of down or soft material
this bird witnessed
the crucifixion
it tried to pull the thorns
from the crown
was left
with blood
on its
this is why
these birds are so often found
in and around thorn bushes
this is why
after you asked him
if he was attached to that bar stool
three hours later you saw him
in a romantic embrace
with the stool

on the dance floor
he is like Christ
in that he has lived hard and will die young

the egrets
walk with wings drooping
hunched as if they are sick
eyes downcast
James Dean scuffing feet

full of importance
the Indian Myna’s nest is crude and
untidy, made of grass and often the
paper of torn poems

the palm-cockatoo blushes
the red patches on its cheeks
turn redder when . . .
what happens when we lose the story
we mimic ourselves like drongos
‘I’m not a single-mother, never seen a double mother’

moves you a sun dial
relaxing in the downpour

his flattery and promises
only making you realise
the depths of your aloneness

there is a story
of a small boy
who ran
and around
a perched owl
that the bird’s head
was following him
in unbroken
when really his
reverse head turns
between acceptance and enemy
rejection and friend
lover or self
partner and other
were too quick to observe them



From Claire Gaskin’s collection, Paperweight.