Freya Sadgrove

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We drive up to Pukeko on her back on Poplar Ave
with her legs batting the air which is nothing
like the ground and frantic wing-swooshing is fruitless.
Desperate Pukeko doesn’t want to die, me neither Pukeko.

Pukeko’s boyfriend is panicking
at the grass-edge, they are yelling
to one another, oh no, oh no! Something
terrible has happened! Oh, oh, oh!

Dad stops the car and is getting out.
Elise and I watch Dad walk over to Pukeko thrashing
in the road and Pukeko is so unhappy and very
unready to die and Pukeko is mad can’t even think

Dad puts his big calm hand on Pukeko’s tummy.
Pukeko stops thrashing, oh, I think Dad can probably
feel her heart go, a bit slower, a bit slower.
Dad carries Pukeko to the grass-edge, stroking

her feathers with his big sad hand, holds her
carefully like a baby, never looks away.
He puts her on the grass next to her boyfriend
who is going, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,

stepping towards her body on his big deliberate legs
sort of saying, no, no, no, no, where are you going, can I
come too, Pukeko is saying, sorry, baby, sorry, no.
Dad is walking back to the car now, really slow.

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