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I stand apart       a drab donga. Zipped vests undo 
basic plumage, almost 
      non-verbal. Rare vagrant, ropy 
lists. 	   In the Shadehouse, species queue 
into rows and 
           columns. Rivals split over a ka ke 
ki-ki-ki. I acculturate an ornithological gait, my next 
meal, my next 
            mate. Spotting scopes strewn over fold-out 
tables, 		outdo sweaty prints on digital stills 
(apertures of truth) not yet showered. 
            They are all ecru, each unidentifiable. 
A migrant’s prosody draws a mob 
to ogle 
            lurid eye-stripe. Squadrons form orderly 
whilst I lag like the return flight. 
A bat hangs 
How I have changed? Peripatetic 
follower of quiet observation. 	I sit out 
            the doldrums in a peep        hole. One Bower 
bird−hoard theory verified. Blind stoics. Two 
Peaceful Doves, a mantle of delineated 
            bars. I settle for unspoilt real estate
a prayer of Godwits on a midden’s scatter.

The science inspiring the piece:

Flyway was inspired by a few days spent at the Broome Bird Observatory, a highly significant shorebird migratory area and place of research in the East-Asian Australasian Flyway.

Feature image via Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum (Public Domain)