Always he was the one taking the wounded
from the mouth of the hungry. Wet feathers
of sparrow from the jaws of a cat.
Or the one with the willing heart. The tomahawk
that would sever the possum’s head
after every passing car left the animal to suffer.
My protector, mourning the nest mown over
the lobsters in the market tank, the mouse
crippled in our neighbour’s trap.
Now he collects bones. Stands at the roadside
and calls their names: Bandicoot, Wallaby, Dingo.
He takes what lasts longest. The skull set with jewels.
Lets it bleach in the heat, ants completing the delicate work.
Mounts each one on the laundry wall. Runs a fingertip
lined with identity over the top of each glittering tooth.