Liz McQuilkin: ‘Once a Day’ and ‘A Rare Moment’

Once a day

The dogs are restless, ready to have their say.
Our canine chorus is primed for the one-act show
when the postman on his beat arrives midday.

A curtain is pushed aside and straight away
Lucky, the Jack Russell, appears—aglow
with vigour and willpower, eager to have her say.

Persistent bass from Iris, the poodle, can sway
the meekest of men to rage, it’s touch-and-go
when the postman on his beat arrives midday.

One-eyed Rufus puts in his all, midway
up the hill, and rouses Roy who’d show
God Himself that he will have his say.

A crescendo of barking and bluster is underway.
Birds are silenced, the wind forgets to blow
when the postman on his beat arrives midday.

The day shrinks to a single yap, astray
in our street—it’s business as usual. Even so,
the dogs were restless, ready to have their say
when the postman on his beat arrived midday.

Liz McQuilkin


A rare moment
with Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Incongruous creature—part bird
part mammal, reptile and frog—
you allow very few sightings.

By the Hobart Rivulet
my reverie is broken
by an elderly couple pointing
and whispering. Taking photos

of you, platypus, swimming:
beaver-tail steering you
away from the rush of current
into a glass-smooth rock-pool

rolling over and over
feeling the sun on your fur
within a kilometre
of the city’s CBD.

Diving, you disappear
below the spreading ripples.
A string of pearly bubbles
shows me where you are

and up you come for air
roll again and vanish
into your cave of twigs—
unlikely urban dweller.

Liz McQuilkin

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