Wednesday, March 14, 2012


. . . Daintree National Park, North Queensland, Australia

. . . by Marilyn Annucci

The feathery staffs of the sugar cane appear
like ladies in light lingerie. I have no
charms myself. In the forest of rain and
green umbrellas, I try my powers: cassowary,
cassowary, cassowary. I think the word

hard, but the black-skirted bird never
comes. Its prehistoric feet stop somewhere
beyond the strangling figs and bumpy
satin ash with their enormous honey flowers.
I imagine the female, which grows to six

feet and can disembowel me with one swipe
of her claw—but only if threatened. I pray
for the miracle of such a creature, but my fear
holds her back, like an amulet I wear past
the ferns and eucalyptus. I imagine spiders

as big as my boot, listen for snakes that
could bracelet my ankles. I am hardly St. Francis,
more the laughingstock of forest fauna. Not
unlike the mimosa, or cringing plant, the plant
of shame
, whose leaves close at anyone’s touch.

~ first published in Southern Poetry Review