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Death, Feathered

Laura Koens

That spring
as ash tumbled down
from ashen skies
in scheduled burns,
and buzzing flies
infuriatingly invaded crevices
and folds,
six chicks hatched
from slimy eggs-
stick-skinny legs
eyes protruding like
tiny translucent moons
feathers drying into
fluffy clouds shaped like wings.
The weather was cold,
unseasonably so-
mornings still misty
and nights carrying the sting
of winter, still.

Is that what killed them?-
All six,
not sudden,
but a new and freshly
devastating death
every second morning
over two long weeks?

All I remember is
their half-shut eyes
small, deflated bodies amongst
the coffee grinds
of the compost heap.

“You put them in the compost?”
an incensed friend enquired.
But I could think of no better
way to honour death
that for what it is intended:
to rot in the body of the earth
and metamorphose into something
from which will spring

Closeup of a Black Dog

A freelance writer of essays, poetry and articles, Laura lives on the lands of the Menang Noongar peoples, in the southwest of Western Australia. Laura's work draws on the beauty of nature, and the place and experience of humankind, within both its softness and ferocity.

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