If it takes three beekeepers twelve hours to share seven anecdotes about a queen and ten thousand workers on racks of infected comb, how many honeyeaters come and go in the bespoke pastel sky under which the hive has been consigned to failure? I’ve been distracting myself with such scenarios but the past floods in. Late one afternoon, the bitumen so hot you could pull it like loops of black toffee that hardened in your fingers and smelled like danger, a gutter fire lured me out of my head, and I did something bad to a blind bandicoot with a stick. I hid under the house where antlions were cratering. I came out like something beaten from the door of a phone booth in the rain as a bleeding marsupial went like stained cotton rag onto the freeway where a man hit the hazard lights, climbed out to stop the traffic, and gave it safe passage to be dead.
bandicoot – a small Australian marsupial
Anthony Lawrence has published sixteen books of poems, the most recent being Headwaters (Pitt Street Poetry, 2016), which won the 2017 Prime Minister’s Award for Poetry. He teaches Writing Poetry and Creative Writing at Griffith university, Queensland, and lives on Moreton Bay.