Not everyone knows I was once
a giant cockatoo, and the moon is an egg I laid.
I tried to keep my egg warm
but I was a drag on the tides
so I flapped back down to earth
and left her alone in the sky, cold and reflective.
Lost my wings. Lost my beak and claws.
Soft hands, slippery mouth, plain feet.
It’s been a dry, dry year. 82 mulberries
missed by the flying foxes and me
fell and were crushed, by coincidence
onto the grey pavers
in exact and tiny replicas
of Goya’s Disasters of War.
At the bus stop a bluetongue lizard
lives beneath the warm cement.
The bluetongue always has questions
asks me to ask
the man in the street why
he is looking up into the branches of the old eucalypt?
The man points out a hive, another hive, another and two more.
He’s been told to persuade the bees
out of the tree
so the chainsaw operators won’t be stung.
But the queens are deep in the limbs.
The bees won’t leave.
Even smoke won’t make them drowsy
after a season of fire.
They’re dancing the story
of the bees
on the space shuttle Discovery
learning to fly in zero g.
The moon has set.
has warmed up and moved on.
The pest controller and me
stand earthed, contemplating
the tree I can’t describe: ugly, beautiful
dangerous, safe, irresolvable, hollow
the boughs like the sturdy arms of a daughter
the boughs full of bees, keeping the tree.
A place to rest
your sulphur crest.