In 1858, a photograph was taken of a Thylacine specimen taxidermist Jane Tost had prepared for the Royal Society Museum, Hobart. It is the earliest record of a Thylacine being photographed – Kathryn Medlock, Senior Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

They bring her
in from the west country –
always a frontier
in any landscape, a wilderness
flayed until wretched, derelict,
crawling home to us
           like a submissive beast.
An empty pouch puckers
as if thieves have just scarpered.
Swollen teats node an interior;
now cold suckle
           for her damned,
mewling young.

The wolf begins reanimation
as a sequence of sketches
and numbers. The width
and breadth of a life measured
as limb, flank and rump.
Clouds drape Mt.Wellington
like soft expanses of underbelly,
pale and vulnerable against
the knife’s gentle first incision.

Divided longitudinally,
the Thylacine slowly emerges
from its pelt, pink-muscled and raw,
unsheathed and newborn.

Tea steams whorls of moisture,
           breath clouding
rolled-glass panes,
as with a bodkin she
divests the tiger-wolf of all
its fleshy matter. A gruesome
sensory assemblage of palate,
tongue, brain and eye;
imprints of the west country,
its tracts of Huon and beech,
musky odours of pademelon
or potoroo, now disfigured
papillae of loss.

Limbs fixed and wired,
           new striations of muscle
flex with rigid intent. Like
an act of Epimetheus
the beast returns, inhabits
her new internal armature
of flax-bound twine,
her hide mended and re-fitted.
The tiger paces the room
           awaiting her portrait,
her glassy, translucent eyes
gazing somewhere
           beyond the lens.

Reviews of Kristin Hannaford's collection Curio

Hamish Danks Brown, reviewing Curio in Rochford Street Review
Mary Cresswell, reviewing Curio in Plumwood Mountain, Vol 2 No 1, Feb 2015.
Anne Elvey, reviewing Curio along with Julie Maclean’s When I saw Jimi and Kiss of the Viking in Cordite, 5th February 2015.

Poetry selection from 'Curio'

One more feather and I'll fly
Assisted Passage

More poems by Kristin Hannaford

Lee side, On board the Triton


Kristin Hannaford, launching Paul Summer's collection
primitive cartography,
Rockhampton, August 23rd, 2013.