on the balcony, I see
the grooves of white tiles
blackened by the settling smoke,
a lonely flower spider hanging
on a leafless plant.
Alpine bog skink burrowing
its tiny body into the hollow of a log.
Yellow dots on black skin,
indistinguishable from the embers
on charred gums –
the corroboree frog, unlike koalas,
too small for screens.
The fires, rolling in
over fire trucks and under water planes
some at the fire’s tail,
some at the fire’s mouth
fighting for life
from day roads, dark as night,
from night roads, bright orange red
And from the air thick with nanoparticles
of houses, skin, bones and fur;
all falling onto those who are watching
from their blackening houses, still standing
with burning eyes, throats and lungs
smallest pieces of those gone up in smoke
slipping from my lungs into the bloodstream.
Black cockatoos flying over trees,
that – for days – are smouldering,
burning from the inside;
dunnarts hiding under rocks, in soil cracks
– survival in numbers or as numbers?
Snakes, wombats, wallabies drinking side by side
from rivulets; run offs from a firehose
Bogs, fens, meadows and heath – small universes
charred lifeless, black apocalypse to each
How long for,
soar the billowing fire columns into the sky,
creating their own weather – thunder, lightning and
not enough rain
to smother the flames
Licking out of the screens,
into the living rooms
not enough rain
to wash the sky from smoke; the bush from death.
Wildlife no longer on the move
Waiting – in the crevices of the hollow log
That is our emergency
And then nothing…