Ornamental snake

B. R. Dionysius


Denisonia maculata


They have carved up the Brigalow forest, etched

out strange designs in the dark leather of its belt.

We sense in the burnt bottom of the pan; gidgee

scrub encircled by roads, railways & stock routes

that pick off mobs of trees like a shooter’s quota

of roos. At night, giant mines blend with the sky

into one wide, black ocean. We emerge in the cool

as the young frogs bubble up from groundwater;

toads we bite, turn the armoured hulks into sacks

of fluid, but the froglets hop into our jaws & rest.

We taste your red. Your engines radiate in waves

of heat, but our fangs do not hurt them. So we hide

by day in the tunnels of deep soil cracks, under the

tip trays of fallen logs. We slither out of your holes.


B. R. Dionysius was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. His poetry has been widely published in literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and online. His eighth poetry collection, Weranga was released in 2013. He lives in Riverhills, Brisbane.

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