staccato conversation on

our walk to preschool


first observe the dead rat

laid out in the gutter

long tail ribbed like a worm skin


next pass the bat

pinned to the ground

by gravity’s inevitability


then the carcass of a cat

and the howl of a man crumpled in the gutter

his lover hovering unable to cross grief’s divide


return to the rattatattat of our conversation

rat bat cat rat cat bat



in the distance

the bullet connects like a sting

the bullock slumps in the paddock

in hock deep grass

the hunter lays down the gun

settling the scope gently

before sprinting knife drawn

to cut the throat and bleed the beast out

a ceremony played in silence


the disconnect between sight and sound

leads my four year old son

to report the scene as seen

that cow just fell over

an innocence not even

these events could extinguish


the hunter controls

his pulse as he pulls the trigger

his chest constricts

the hunter fears

the quarry stands in blissful



will you eat what you kill

the beast winched

onto the truck

deck slick with blood


then strung up

stripped of hide

eviscerated and butchered into portions


are you prepared to kill what you eat


the daily mix of seed and mash deposited

inside your wire enclosure

fenced to keep the cat out not you in


click and chirrup as you circle

quizzical as I mimic you


in the scramble for the feed

you walk over my feet

eyes targeting the largest corn amongst the seed

a sudden dart extracts that morsel with precision

the focus of your greed


I reach into the nest

a perfect bowl lined with lilac feathers

and collect two pale blue eggs

to complete the exchange


your feathered carcass lay

Elvis white with yellow quiff

in the gutter where your flightpath

intersected with the road

bitumen black beak and claws


for days your cohort of lairs

hung about the wires strung above


scooped into a bag

and dumped into the bin

on collection night

no viking funeral for you


I held your surprising heft

feathers softer than skin

your natural life span

longer than my own


looming large and suddenly

at speed there is no time

as you slam into the windscreen

with such force

the wipers are activated


all that remains

the perfect imprint of your wings

and a smear across the glass