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A Chicken's Head

(After A boy's head by Miroslav Holub)

In it there are beetles and sesame seed
and a project
for a deep bed dust bath.

And there is
which shall be first
and the changing season
both of which are noticed in the pineal gland
behind the eyes
even in a life in a tin shed.
beneath fluorescence.

And there is
dandelion and groundsel
and borage and comfrey
as well as grass.

There is radar for movement
within the constant binary
of the right eye’s near
and the left eye’s far:

On a good day there is blue sky free of presentiment

But there are blind nights filled with rat scutter
cat glide and the silence of the barn owl’s flight

There is the starry sky
And it just cannot be trimmed

I believe that   bliss   anxiety   peace   and   fear
inhabit the head of the chicken
like windy days and overcast days and brilliance,
that there is room too for the less elemental emotions
such as loyalty   cunning   affection and pride

But that for shame, guilt, remorse
there is little space

I believe
that only what cannot be imagined
is a chicken’s head

There is much promise
in a vision that numbers ultra violet
in its marvellous spectrum

Sarah Day's most recent book is Tempo (Puncher & Wattmann, 2013). Awards for her work include the Judith Wright Calanthe Queensland Premier’s Award, the Judith Wright ACT, the University of Melbourne Wesley Michel Wright Prize and the Anne Elder Award. She lives in Hobart where she teaches year 12 Creative Writing. Her work has been widely anthologized.