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my sister bought a chick home from school we

trained the

          chick to walk up the ruler like this 30 centimetre long piece of timber was a ramp to her dreams

          she grew. wider wings. longer beak. louder chirp.

one day she swooped on my sister     left her cheek red and raw 

we took her for a trip to the country     my uncle handled her           the  

rest of us stood as spectators in the yard         – or was it the driveway

 –  nah there was no difference the road, the drive, the yard all run together in function and memory               feathers

are soft

feathers are spiky

the feathers took flight when

feathers float down to the footpath             waxy foxy trails

           laughter rests on the mushroom carpet in a brown

vinyl-rimmed late 80s suburban lounge

mum listens loudly from the kitchen  my sister and I coax the chick up the ruler “you can do it!”

before the chick arrived I’d wandered outside and across the road to visit our

friends, alone

                 the neighbour cried “what are you doing here?” and carried 

me back home     my mother was in the shower and it took her 


to hear the knocks on the front door                                                       she reminds me that for years she was the only person who could understand me           later I learn how  mother whales whisper to 

their babies to keep predators from eavesdropping and realise

she never once told me to “speak up”

Abstract Architecture

Nadia Rhook is a non-Indigenous historian, educator, and poet, who lectures in History at UWA, on Whadjuk Noongar boodja. Her debut poetry collection is 'boots' (UWA Publishing 2020)

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