She came from a northern place—
a place with shade,
where lakes rest in mountain hollows
and moose wade in the shallows
under a dragonfly gaze.

She didn’t know the desert—
where a lake is a turquoise guest
drawn by tumultuous rain
to poise on the thirsty plain.
Pelicans scramble to nest.

Hurry nestlings!

Eat, while you can.
Drink, before moist comfort
becomes steaming mirage.
Grow feathers or the sun
will poach your heart.
Fly, before the gulls come
to feast

on nestlings.

She didn’t know herself
as a pelican wrestler.
But she did thrill when she held
his slashing beak in her hand.
She stroked his feathers.
She found his pulse. There.
Hot. Fast. Secret.

She clipped a tag to his wing.
it claimed.
until the lake disappeared.

~ ~ ~ ~
Image is thanks to www.mdahlem.net/birds/4/austpel.php

Click here for more on the Lake Eyre pelicans.

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