Almanac Poetry: ‘Bunyip’ – Robyn Black.

 

 

 

 

 

Bunyip                                    

 

It hunkers in dusked shadows, slowly

flexing and contracting with each laboured

breath, growing ever larger – curved

tusks glistening under glower of eye

 

Kaieltheban woman drifts in lee of current

feet sculpt digging tool, scrunching coarse

river-sand through arch and heel, scoops up

hard-shelled mussel, clammed fearful and closed

 

her story ripples over gill and scale, dips

through billabong, climbs clay bank on

lizard toe and lifts into hot cicada’d air,

is picked up by the river birds clacking

gossip passed on from beak to bone

to clawed perch view in eucalypt canopy

where expectant … they watch

 

she senses a shift, feels the warp and weft

of her songline being tugged and snapped,

raw and savage the air bridles and writhes

rends open with teratoid roar, and

she is suddenly gone – removed from

Language from this moment forward …

 

but now, the river birds sweep up the

wail, screech it from outpost to outpost

squall raucous narrative along Kaiela, snaking

through time, away and away

they refine the refrain, perfect

the chorus, lay down the coda of loss …

 

 

they know this song, they have heard it before.

 

 

©Robyn Black

 

 

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