(1969 - / Queensland / Australia)

Albert's Lyrebird

Albert’s Lyrebird
Menura alberti


He whistled to her & like an inquisitive dog
The bowl of her head angled, a satellite dish
To receive the new music. She was muttering
Away in some mimic’s foreign language when
He stumbled upon her; a woodland Pokémon
That evolved the power of water & then slaked
Some deeper desire in him. The brown, rusted
Stovepipe of her tail feathers swung back &
Forth, as each great scratch of her garden fork
Claws ripped the humus open like rotten cloth.
As he fell, he noticed the bathtub-sized granite
Boulders were covered in grey lichen squares,
Cool & treacherous as damp flannels on a tiled
Floor. Momentum snared, he heard her scream.


A Trojan War had passed since he last saw one.
Oracle elusive, it had tracked him like a prophecy
Or some shadowy ninja as he hiked at Lamington.
Then it had melted into the forest floor like a fat
Witchetty grub, a curled white question mark of
Memory he could only find again if he dug deeply.
He picked himself up, mud stigmata slashed across
His palms as he retook the track, his partner shaking
Her head at the plunge of birdmen. Or that his cry
Had become a lyrebird’s sound effect. Recorded for
Posterity like he was the endangered animal, a loss of
Pride’s habitat. Their black ship of extinction hauled
Up on nature’s beachhead, time caulking their voice’s
Hull; faint echoes of crackling bushfire & corroboree.

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