It is winter in Coorparoo:
the trees are all flying foxes, and no leaves.
That magnificent odour of flying foxes –
ripe fruit processed the hard way
through a digestive tract – is pervasive.
I wonder what legislation they are debating.
Who holds the floor?
Do they have the numbers?
There is much discussion.
In a great bowed mango tree,
one whole faction of the Labour Party
screeches and flaps and claws
into the sky,
and settles into different positions,
snapping and breaking branches.
In the morning, they will catch
the slanting and sharpening light on their black membranes,
flap their wings occasionally,
curse their neighbours.
Radio National tells me that
someone lost a vote of no-confidence overnight
and the Left is in disarray.
They’re just bats, mate,
I tell the newsreader, tapping the steering wheel.
They’re only bats.
Damen O'Brien is a Brisbane poet. Damen has recently been successful as a finalist or in shortlists of poetry competitions in Australia, the USA and the UK and has been published in journals including Island, Cordite, Southerly, Text and StylusLit. Damen is currently putting together his first manuscript.