Poetry Drawer: In avian company: Frangipani and honey-eaters: A raven among the sulphur-crests by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

In avian company

In the eucalyptus grove
I munch on my sandwich
tossing some crumbs
at the two eager bush turkeys
romping around in the grass.

suddenly one of them
takes an explosive shit –
an ochre-white splatter
with a black jelly centre
which its companion
promptly begins to peck at
seeing which, the bird
who took the massive dump
heartily joins the other
in dining on its poop.

I throw up a little bit
in my mouth
my sudden retching
startling the feasters
who scoot off a distance
before coming back
with renewed appetite
to resume nibbling
on the glob of excrement.

I look away
and quickly swallow
the small well of puke
pooled in my mouth –
it somehow seems
like the logical thing to do
in this particular
avian company.

Frangipani and honey-eaters

those stories
that grandmother used to tell –
malevolent spirits roosting
in the branches
of frangipani trees at dusk
something sinister
about the otherworldly perfume
of flowers in bloom
that drew tortured souls
caught between worlds
to the ivory perch
of their shadowy branches.

at the far end of the backyard
the gardener has trimmed
the frangipani tree
to limbs so bare
they look like floating fingers
splayed anemone
in the sea of the night.

from the u-shaped curve
of a comfortable fork
the honeyeaters stare
bodies tucked in their new nest
eyes filled with dread
as they study me
floating back-lit
half-human, half-ghost –
and I wonder
if their grandmothers told them
stories about my kind
even as I imagine them
with beady eyes
smouldering in the dark
and fantasise about demons
that quickly morphed
in the time
my back was turned.

A raven among the sulphur-crests

it’s an autumn morning ritual
stalking the balcony
awash in black
gunmetal hair
swelling in the wind.

the sulphur-crests
await my appearance
an army of twelve
perched on the railings
diamond formation
attention rapt.

in black lingerie
and beguiling lace
I fancy myself
a millennial Grimhilde
hands aloft
spilling cake crumbs and bread.

I toss them in the mist
and the birds circle
squawking, snowing white
tame in the power
of my sorcery
the mysterious human-raven.

on the balcony below
the neighbour gawks in horror
this manic wheeling
of wild cockatoos
my frightening nudity
madness on show.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney based artist, poet, and pianist. She holds a Masters in English. Oormila is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in Eunoia Review, Poets Resist, Rue Scribe, The Ekphrastic Review, and several other literary journals in Australia, the US, and the United Kingdom.

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