Brown Snake Skin Moult
Oh snake I have your measure now I have your skin – it’s inside out from tail to snout discarded as you slid away I long to see you pour out of your hole: your lidless eyes, your flickering tongue that tastes the track to see your shining scales allow the sinusoidal curves to build up traction as you swish through grass to see your tapering tail which curves in turn to follow as you pass I wish and do not wish to see you especially as this skin is long as I am tall but most of all because you are a Brown and now I have your measure who needs a showdown with a Brown?
Suddenly, near the Big Dam there it is: a fox-exploded bird dragged to a hollow for private dismemberment Like a violent cast of fiddlesticks a slew of long, dark pinions and splintered bone litters the ground The skull, beak and feet are missing... what was this bird so dark, so large? no ibis has this wingspan... I begin to fear for the lone pair of wedge-tails in this valley I turn the carcass over and to my guilty relief this prow-like sternum these white belly feathers can only belong to a pelican I imagine the bird off course and out of context: the long lumbering takeoff from the middle of the dam too slow too low the fox leaping and wrestling the bird to ground... Easy pickings too easy.
Susan O’Brien lives half of her time off the grid overlooking the gorge of the Finniss River on the Fleurieu Peninsula, the other half in Adelaide’s CBD. Since recent semi-retirement from medical practice as a GP with a specific interest in mental health, she has started to capture her poems on the page, writing about what the natural world may present. Her poems have appeared in Friendly Street anthologies, and she has read them at the Coriole vineyard and on 101.5 FM Radio Adelaide’s Gastronaut program.
Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to firstname.lastname@example.org. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.