Notes on a Sunday night before sleeping

Shari Kocher

 

A gecko slips under the fold

where cushion meets cushion on an old

corded sofa perfect for reading

and as I read I half-expect a flurry

of fine lizard feet on ankles, bookish

hands or neck, yet what happens next

is even finer: that portal latched to darkness

swings on webs which humming-

birds collect inside my chest,

where starlings build their crystal nests

out of their own saliva. Here I rest,

spanned by bats and ropes of notes

that plant the singing egg in each to

each: a thousand airborne nests

the size of human baby-hearts

in utero rapidly pumping. But then,

and here’s the hook, I read how

these caves, once discovered, soon

descend into the sending of children up

for bird-egg soup collected in a sack

sold on the black market for some

outrageous sum by the tonne,

enough to build cathedrals

in the mouth of darkness, and yet

prairie owls coat their doorsteps

with simple dung, and dung beetles

become a walking larder, rolling

their own cocoa-coated eggs away

and I think of the bamboo rat who

harvests the freshening shoot by pulling on

a ceiling root and hauling underground

the ripening stalk for later. How a poem

should be no less a bean

the handy size of a small grenade

gnawed by teeth packed with stardust

and the stealth of dung stowed in

careful cosmic caves inside the heart

grown mutinous, resistance swarming

into life with the pin pulled out

already bursting into flower.

 

Shari Kocher is the author of The Non-Sequitur of Snow (Puncher & Wattmann 2015), which was Highly Commended in the 2015 Anne Elder Awards. Recent awards also include The University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize (2016) and second and third place in the Newcastle Poetry Prize (2017 & 2015). www.carapacedreaming.wordpress.com

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