Caterina Mastroianni – The flightless bird

Mastroianni LE P&W April 2024

Download PDF Here

Live Encounters Poetry & Writing April 2024.

The flightless bird, poems by Caterina Mastroianni.

The flightless bird

Lord Howe Island

Palms claw off exploitation,
exhale every new minute I inhale
as I cycle away from settlement
along the winged curve
of this crescent island.
My sand-cushioned feet
scrub off consumption,
hike towards smaller footprints,
touch her sheltered lagoon.

I slide promises into the lagoon,
corals grip their reef,
my breath grips sanctuary
over the abandoned anchor,
the channel it unzipped,
and over the settled turtle
polishing the anchor with its’ shell,
while surgeonfish scalpel algae
off her elongated neck.

I drop water-hugging words
from out of the lagoon
onto magma-cold rocks,
coral-graveyard beaches,
and a palmy forest of trees
teeming with protesting terns,
winning their turn of the island
and I give way again and again
to the flightless bird.

The untouched bird

Lord Howe Island

It was too late
for the fearless woodhens
purring in the hunters’ hands.

It was too late
for the rat-eaten chicks
hurled into the sky by a squall.

It was too late
for the shearwaters’ shrieks
falling into a dead space.

It was too late
for this museum bird
with its’ cut belly, inside,

the bottle caps like fish-eyes,
the plastic worm-like slivers,
the nurdles like soup ingredients,

scold the icons and brands I digested,
the swollen Phoenix and Horus gods,
the worn-out Nestlé and Dove wrappings

and I wonder if it is too late
for me to dream
of untouched birds.

© Caterina Mastroianni

Caterina Mastroianni is a poet and educator living in Sydney on the land of the Cadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation. She has published poetry in various literary magazines and four Australian anthologies, including Australian Mosaic, and most recently in Burrow, Mediterranean Poetry, Honeyguide, The Ekphrastic Review, Live Encounters Poetry and Writing Journal,  Poetry for the Planet: An Anthology of Imagined Futures and Medium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.