16 October 2017

Goosebumps ripple
your skin as you duck
low in the early morning
mist. The buckshot echoes
a warning and flocks
of waterfowl honk
into the prehistoric sun.

One was struck, whistles
like a bomb as it dives
into the bog. Your stubby
fingers wring its neck
like a Neanderthal
playing clarinet. Overhead,
emerald wings wink,
taunting you
to waddle after them
to where shrubby hands tend

the bones of bullockornis,
deep in the wetlands.
Commonly known as the demon
duck of doom, a relic
that preceded the Anthropocene.
Its stony bill could crack
a skull easily as an egg.
Its legs could breach
earth’s crust
with each footfall. Thunder
resembles its call
as the sky remembers
a flightless fowl.

Back home, you pluck
your game, the Pacific
black. You fry its heart
in butter and thyme,
add its breast
to risotto and throw
its bones in the compost.
You give its treasured
feathers to the kids.
They flap in the backyard,
trying to fly, as far away
thunder catches you off-guard.

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