John Leonard


I’m watching you, a blur of wings

And legs, floating around me —

I’m trying to brush you away,

Or grab and squash you.


Suddenly I see you’re on my hand,

Walking up my middle finger,

Testing with your feet, waving

Your proboscis thoughtfully.


I let you go on to find your spot —

A small sharp pain, and then

You’re sucking, white-banded rear legs

Held over your back.


Your transparent, black-striped body

Pulses, it seems to take forever

Until a dark finger of blood creeps

Along inside you.


You bloat, abdomen red now,

But once detached, you whiffle about,

Take two steps, as if to start

Feeding again.


No! You don’t need any more,

I don’t think you can fly! I puff

You away and you disappear across

Autumn garden-beds.


John Leonard was born in the UK and came to Australia in 1991. He has a PhD from the University of Queensland and was poetry editor of Overland from 2003 to 2007. He has five collections of poetry; the latest, A Spell, A Charm, was published by Hybrid Publishing in 2014.

2 replies

  1. I love the lightness of this – the careful observation, the boundaries and the extending of them.


  1. “The body made out of food” | Plumwood Mountain

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