Walking the back paddock early
you come across two young buck kangaroos
going at it like Frazier and Clay.
You hear them before you see them,
the sounds of two men struggling, or, a man
and an angel, and a blessing to be had
from the encounter. Your night
has been a tousle of covers. Your daughter’s
confinement is imminent, and fear
troubles your belly like a clawed foetus.
The grunts of the greys are loud on the morning.
They mean business. You
can only watch, as the taller
rocks back on its tail and kicks out
with its two hind legs, the impact sounding
like a broom handle thwacking
dust from a carpet. A gasp escapes the throat
of the struck one, and it reels as if drunk
before gathering, and putting its fists
up for more. Its breathing, heavy with the labour
is human, almost; the noises, a weird
echo of a mid-night ward, twenty-eight
years ago. Her birth was not difficult. Dawn reached
a hand to our cot. The roos lay off
their fight, as if some distant bell
has signalled time. They bound off down the slope,
early mist burning off like spirit for a clear day.