Two poems by J V Birch


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

_________________________________________pinwheeling away

__________________to punctuate the sky

with its dark

Weddell seal

It lives on ice shelves around Antarctica

we’re told

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