Elly McDonald


Marsupial (1984)

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Remembering reunions

Past, she sees him as a sequence

Of long, loping movements – half graceful

Then abrupt: a stutter

Of glances, fearful

Querying, tentatively tender

She knows him as a native

Bushland animal – touch-shy, muted

Tawny grey and soft

A possum

Dangling from a gum-tree

Securely attached and by night

Alert, its eyes

Its nightsky-padded paws

An untamed living question




In darkness, in depth and in warmth

A kangaroo heart-pulse – an inch-long

Moist, ghostly pink

Blind embryo, striving

Clinging, swollen – her own

Bloodless like rose-quartz or a

Shaft of ice


As an animal startled

Scared by sudden light

Undergrowth creature

A scrubland dweller

A species protected


And only rarely sighted

Approaching quietly

She hopes to see him soon


Author: Elly McDonald

Worked in the Australian rock music industry as a journalist and published widely as a poet before moving to London and spending the better part of a decade in advertising agencies. Returned to Australia and tried teaching, primarily teaching English to non-English speaking, newly-arrived refugees but also briefly as a high school classroom teacher. Has travelled Western Europe, North Africa, Russia, Northern India, East Asia, coastal USA, some Pacific Islands, and Australia.

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