woke to that unsettling feeling
the dream from last night was erased
nothing will bring back
that seed waiting to germinate

amongst the morning humdrum
the cape koel’s escalating call cuts through

a cuckold fragment      all night
searching for a mate
a call with no response
at the outskirts of the migration south
what drives it to repeat
this sterile journey
setting words on a page
no one will read

each year the weather flicks a switch
marking the change of season reliably
the journey from New Guinea
deemed complete at our suburb
pausing to call for a mate
scouting established nests
in which to secrete an egg
so the surrogate can concentrate
on your cuckoo
and you can return north


that timeless summer
three marauders hop from aerial root to root
trying to avoid the shoe sucking mud
sticks prod crabs and mudskippers
as they wait for the tide to turn

by low tide they own these mudflats
intersection of creek and river refined

lines in the ooze
slurp and lurch of steps
air thick with bugs
sun burnt migrant skin
sulphurous tracks
the animal shape of roots
coming up to breathe

remnant sandstone blocks
outline a boatshed jutting into the water
enough to drive out the last
of the Wallumedgal one hundred years before
the lines food sources disrupted
connections and links
with seasons past and future obstructed
the sheltering sandstone overhang exposed

three boys with sticks digging
a mullock heap nearby
oblivious to the midden
generations in the making
of oysters and shells discarded
food and cutting tools extracted
pirates in their bubble