The Princess and the Peewee

She calls herself Princess Sheena,
wears a tiara over short, bobbed hair,
gleaming through days like a lighthouse.
We scoffed, decided how to expose
her dubious claims to Antipodean royalty.
Roadkill flourishes near our town—
kangaroo carpaccio, wombat rissoles.
Birds too, sucked under cars’ wheels,
or dying what Mad Dog sneeringly calls
a natural death, which may involve
smaller pieces of metal travelling faster
than any wanker’s weekend Audi.
We hid an emu first, and she felt it,
under her mattress, but that is not proof
of sensitive royal skin, attuned to discomfort.
Even Mad Dog would feel a stinking emu
under his unspeakable, never-washed bed,
its rich Rorschach stains far better left unread.

A cockatoo blown onto a windscreen was next,
tucked away, and she rolled around and sighed.
She said she dreamt of squawking.
Impressive, but not fully conclusive of
unusual sensitivity, caused by thin blue blood.
Lastly came the peewee, black and white ball
squashed by a semi to newspaper thinness,
secreted under her satin-wrapped pillow.
Again, she tossed and turned, then arose,
sleep-walked into the night, scavenged in dirt.
Dawn revealed the pillow surrounded
by tiny nests of mud, the pink softness smeared.

She found us examining her creations,
laughed, sprouted wings and soared.
Mad Dog said she had become a goshawk,
but I say eagle, the Queen of the Birds.

—PS Cottier

Note: The peewee or magpie lark (Grallina cyanoleuca) is a bird native to Australia, Timor and New Guinea