The chief has left you in the bush, hungry,
too cold to move far. Your man (usually useless)
returns with a bird, speared mid-chirp
(curled white bell
at its throat) and slips it, still struggling,
over the fire. Feathers shrivel
like hair on a young man’s chin.
The chief asked you here to put his world
on display. A willing museum. You liked when he looked
back scared, at his daughter. You liked when he left but
you’re not sure now which way it is to the sea. Your man
has lit a fire. But above the flame,
the bird’s wings flap; it flexes its body free of the spit
and launches, burning, in the air.
Your man reaches his fist up, grasps nothing.
You laugh as the fire spills into the trees,
but the bush is wet and will not light.
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