Those little feet no longer dig the dirt
in Duffy's Forest where they once would live.
We looked ‘til charcoal branded all our shirts
and sifted through the cameras like a sieve.
But not a single photo could be found,
near lures of peanut butter mixed with oats,
of little bandicoots, Southern and Brown,
burnt out by hazard fires that wreck their hopes.
It takes eight years after a blaze roars through
for species to recover from the flames.
Instead of in patches, what they now do
is fry for miles in a single swathe.
Please, let's not push them ‘til they go extinct.
Give them a break to come back from the brink.
She wakes in a tank and her eyes blink slow,
seeing sliced apple arranged in a bowl.
Her head will turn left and round she will go,
locked in a loop that she cannot control.
The fruit so tempting but out of her reach
all thanks to the creature that left her scarred,
her skull dented in, her brain jammed with teeth,
her tail a stump, her mind now a shard.
A bark and her memories come creeping back
of the bite, bubbling blood and bursts of pain
the moment that changed her life – the attack.
For all that was lost, there’s one thing to gain:
if the dog was put on a leash that night,
this blue-tongued lizard would turn left and right.
They say that “It is just a pest, my dear,”
in voices dripping with dismissive tones
each time a child sheds a trickling tear,
while highway carcasses are stripped to bones.
The creature that you hit was just a bird,
but one that felt its gore grind on the road,
its wings crushed to the tarmac, vision blurred,
hurt striking through its heart until it slowed.
And don’t forget that magpies mate for life.
To them, it’s never ‘just an animal.’
After the one they love meets fatal strife,
they’ll never want another through it all.
When all of us live life and turn to dust,
no bandicoot, blue tongue or bird is ‘just.’