Tracy Ryan is a Western Australian writer whose most recent book of poetry is Hoard (Whitmore Press, 2015), and whose latest novel is Claustrophobia (Transit Lounge, 2014). She is currently a visiting fellow with Literary Cultures of the Global South at the University of Tuebingen, Germany.
Inured by now to snow
nothing could drag me
away from inwardness
this would-be scraping
and clearing of the mind’s
dark drive with its slick
misnomer “black” ice
to the neuralgic window —
except that queer aria
of howls, falsetto, which now
in counterpoint and now
in unison makes plaint
to a woman who not so much
walks two white dogs as is
herself spurred on by animal pain
and mine, and stops her ears.
…haul/ My eyelids up
— Sylvia Plath, “Black Rook in Rainy Weather”
Unseen, and named not by our utterance but by his own,
cranking the day up for me as he cranks your day down,
insistent and regular as the kitchen roller-shutter: creak…
creak… asserting particularity, necessity, marking off time
remaining in this place, staking out hours for work
and hours domestic, that querulous line between Home
and Them. The rest of the process a guessing-game,
if you care to determine who makes that mimic cry
and is endemic and does not leave in winter, allowing that
seasons are now so altered the guides don’t always apply.
If we have to make him real I’ll settle for woodcock,
Waldschnepfe, but in our private bird-world he will not
have to be hunted, only to be what he does, Winch-bird.