Waking to a dry season the nightmare still on hold you assemble cycling gear, protective clothing, the knee support. Same smoke haze, same traffic, the day yawns ahead. You open shutters to noise in the native garden, flashes of green and orange among branches, a flurry of rainbow lorikeets move in drink nectar from pink flower heads then fly away, too soon. * Down at Thirroul, in the leafy paradise our offspring have created, birds flock to the wooden veranda two of them, playing to the gallery and each other, artistes extraordinaire perform a dance, blue heads nodding then swing, upside-down from palm tree branches. Beyond, the blue coast beckons. The self in hiding cannot speak of loss or failure, these cheeky birds a small epiphany, taking a little of the grief away.
Margaret Bradstock has eight published collections of poetry, including The Pomelo Tree (winner of the Wesley Michel Wright Prize)and Barnacle Rock (winner of the Woollahra Festival Award, 2014). Editor of Antipodes (2011) and Caring for Country (2017), Margaret won the Banjo Paterson Poetry Award in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Her latest collection, from Puncher & Wattmann, is Brief Garden (2019).