And then a bat
__________________swoops from a tree
_________________________________________its wingspan sharp
_________________________________________& the length of you
__________________bears down for a beat
broad & brooding
__________________like something not said
_________________________________________before losing its impact
__________________to punctuate the sky
with its dark
It lives on ice shelves around Antarctica
further south on the planet than any other mammal.
The known record for holding its breath is ninety-six minutes.
The video’s on a loop
opens with an empty breathing hole.
Pristine blue water rocks before up it pops
in a cold gasp
drawing lungfuls of breath for all its worth.
It has an old baby face
with liquid black eyes and a Mona Lisa smile
like it knows what we don’t.
Looks like a fat puddin’ ready for bakin’
a tourist sniggers to another.
Glasshouses I think
and take a step away towards this circle of life.
These poems are included in J V Birch’s new collection more than here.
J V Birch lives in Adelaide. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, journals and magazines across Australia, the UK, Canada and the US. She has three chapbooks – Smashed glass at midnight, What the water & moon gave me and A bellyful of roses – with Ginninderra Press and blogs at www.jvbirch.com