Poetry: “Cousteau’s Paradise” and “Becoming Demeter”, by Natalie Rose Dyer

Becoming Demeter
I left a wishbone on the window eave
above the kitchen sink to dry
like mother used to when I was a child.
After it dried we’d have a wish, snap it in two.
The Fircula (little fork) found in birds,
in some dinosaurs, formed by the fusion
of two clavicles to strengthen the thoracic skeleton,
so as to withstand the rigors of flight.
This one once sat at the throat of a chicken.
A shiny oil-slicked divining rod
with flesh still gripping the bone;
dried honeyed flesh holding the narrow flute
all the way to the spirit ends.
It sits superstitiously among trinkets –
makes me wonder what I wished for as a child
whilst clasping my end of the bone.
Did I wish for a strong thoracic skeleton
so as to withstand the rigor of flight?
Did I cast into my mother’s withdrawn heart?
I’d go hunting for her unravelling thoughts,
travel up the length and breadth of her
measuring wingspans, repairing old feathery
malignancies, tearing at appendages.
She hardly knew my work, my gift
for crossing animal frontiers to bestow her
safe passage to/back from the underworld – snap.

Natalie Rose Dyer completed a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne (2017) where she also earned an MFA (2010) with an Australian Postgraduate Award. Natalie was Researcher-in-Residence at The University of Amsterdam (2018). She has taught in the creative writing and literature program at Deakin University, Melbourne in 2019 and 2020. Natalie’s poetry and essays are widely published in esteemed international literary journals including Meanjin Quarterly, Australian Poetry, Cordite, The University of Canberra Vice-Chancellors Anthology, Chiron Review, Wisconsin Review and more. Her book The Menstrual Imaginary in Literature: Notes on a Wild Fluidity is published by Palgrave Macmillan (November, 2020). Natalie is currently writing a series of essays on wandering for http://feministajournal.com. Her blog is at www.natalierosedyer.com.

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