Urban Birdsong

Kate Maxwell

One’s still asleep

the other pounding over Harbour Bridge

in his new Christmas runners. 

I lean into right hip 

the way the physio warned 

was a bad habit and stare 

into morning: gifted 

like crinkled sheets 

of tissue paper, unfolding 

pale blue from open concertina doors.


A few optimistic fruit flies 

hover over scraps spilt from the pedal bin. 

Stretching squeal, screech 

of trucks, train, and cars, distant 

shout, honking horns, maybe a siren 

but only me 

before this open balcony. 

Faint scent of Frangipanni 

on the breeze softens last night’s remnants 

of fried onion.       A cabbage moth 

meanders over trees

settles briefly on blossom and green 

then floats across another canvas. 


Yap of dog in nearby courtyard

           traffic chopper

           somewhere, a pneumatic drill

creak of upstairs floorboards

neighbour’s turning faucets, boiling water

beginning or ending things. 

But it’s all out there

beyond doors, streets, clouds. 

Glint and clatter simply background 

to my solitary moments sipping tea

and breathing start of day.