Stunned by this sudden cave
Of glass, metal gadgets, straight edges,
The floored bird swivel-head stares
At our locked gaze, hunches so still
I think oven mitts unnecessary
For capture. We breathe together.
Its wildness springs into flight.
Wings flail the ceiling, that sound
Like books falling from shelves.
The bird shudder-drops, lands
With its amber-bulb eyes inches
From the doorjamb. We coo and shoo.
It hops sideways, senses the wide
Dark beyond the door we opened
For cool breezes, dark rectangle
In the dark house it did not see
But may remember. Spreads itself
To the night and all scents of home.
Lifts itself on a single beat.
Rises swiftly towards distant trees.
We stare at each other, the wonder
Of wildness so easily trapped, gone,
Close the door, turn off the lights,
Listen to the silence, to our longing.
Earl Livings is an award-winning Melbourne based poet and writer who currently teaches Professional Writing and Editing at Box Hill TAFE. 'Tawny Frogmouth' was shortlisted for the 2008 Rosemary Dobson prize and previously published in Avant. His first collection of poetry, Further than the Light was published in 2000 by Bystander Press.
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