South East Queensland, 2014
The wildlife officer moves into the woodland,
steps between the crooked carpet of winged
limbs; the stiff cloaks swathing brown bodies.
He looks out at the row upon row of flying
foxes, lifeless or starved to motionlessness;
each reduced to lay at the level of a human heel.
He silently considers the furnaces of the trees,
to have seared the creatures from their perches
and demoted them to a crunch and unevenness
underfoot. He considers the one mammal capable
of flying and its label as pest and rodent; the raising
of it to gothic emblem and the muse of superheroes;
its replication in plastic for children’s showbags and arcade
knick-knacks. In Boonah, Palmwoods, Laidley and Gatton –
here too, they are inanimate. Their slitted eyes are sealed,
their light bodies swiftly dropped in council rubbish bags,
in response to complaints of the stench of carcasses
and the fingers and ankles bitten by frantic teeth.
© Amanda Anastasi, 2019