dust eater, live
upturned in a pewter dish
under the lamp
a six-legged clasp
above the brown lacquered plates
of your back.
I don’t trust your kind, but know
if I crushed you
something tiny would crunch
in my mind
I could flip you, let you go,
but you’d find
a wallcrack to lay your sac
so I toy with you, watch you
You are blind, I think
but for these two bent antennae
that rove and tap at the saucer’s brink
like a blind man’s sticks
almost inaudible, their clicks
to the pip of your brain
of a predicament
neither of us
For over a week it’s been happening
at intervals outside my window, a fleet
of six drakes cruising the stream
vying for morsels, barking at rivals.
When they spy her, and the mood takes them
they stream up behind the
lone grey girl, and before she can get
away, before I can yell duck, duck
they’ve got her, dunk her
in the muck of the creek, snap
at her neck, slap the orange
plastic flaps of their feet down
on her back. They peck and ruck her,
jab and rip at neck feathers.
As a pack, unchecked, they rape her.
Isn’t that the word? Is it different because they’re
birds? This is the pure hot savagery
of a gang. Then they make her their punt,
dunk her again, and when they’ve tired, slacked
or gotten distracted, she runs away
into the field, stops, smoothes the down they’ve half
stripped off her wings, then limps away on her own.
She glances back once to check who might have seen,
then a second time to watch the men,
but they’ve already forgotten her, standing
on the bank for a photograph, preening
their emerald jackets and tails
a gaggle of Oxford scholars again, rowers,
neat white collars ironed by their mothers,
band of brothers, the tiny blank eyes in the taps
of their heads swiveling indifferent
little snivelling lords of the creek.
Ode to the Watermelon
We find you, the last batch of dinosaur eggs
at the beach house.
One tumbles from the kitchen bench, Oh!
Oh! It splits
on the stone, spits at my legs, spills its
shock of pink snow and tropical
meltwater. All pap and pip, sugar-laced
in slices, cucumber ice at the rind.
When Stalin was crunching
on your frivolous slush, when his
moustache was so deeply embedded
inside you that your blush was his
his mind’s eye must have half shut
with the hush of it, his vision
for Siberia somewhat blurrier
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William Connor is a teacher, puppeteer and writer from Greytown. He spent much of this year hugging a hot water bottle in a poorly sealed hut he built at the edge of his garden, working on poems for his Masters at the IIML. These are some of the survivors. William was the recipient of the Story Inc Poetry Prize in 2015 and has had poems published in takahē and the 2016 New Zealand Poetry Society anthology Penguin Days. Next year, he will move to Berlin and has an itch to write and produce a marionette play for adults.