Corellas

Jennifer Kornberger

 

1.

Corellas forage at the northern end

of the beach, foam-coloured

with fluorescent stains

under the wings and pink on the nape

visible only when the wind

parts pages of feathers.

 

The eyes are set in a compass

of grey-blue skin, the right eye

confident that it is the centre

of some cheerful farce, the left

following the shifting periphery

of the flock.

 

The whole swashbuckling gang

roils over the sand

selects and rejects twigs

and strips of seaweed.

 

One bird stalls, listening

to a pale stalk poised

between beak and claw

 

then on, toiling over the dune

riding on bossy thighs until the sky

washes in under them

and they rise in shrill protest

 

in the air they are one wing

of bird twisting in the citron air.

 

2.

Immigrants to Whajuk country

they live in a cloud of hysteria

 

an ancestral memory

of a caged pet keeps them roving

 

their cries are updates

on the current shape of panic

 

loud with drought and fire.

 

They roost on the foreshore

to spend raucous nights

inventing a past, sharing

quips and homilies.

 

Like the crews of men

who fly in and out

from mine-site to city

their stories are the broken

ends of sentences

 

their shrieks announce

some wider severance

of time from place.

 

Jennifer Kornberger is a poet and artist living in Fremantle. Her work has appeared in national poetry journals including the Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology, and has attracted awards in the Tom Collins Poetry Prize. Her first collection of poetry, I could be rain, was published by Sunline Press in 2007. She has just completed a second collection.

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