Degrees of Flight


Rosanna Licari







Call me tonight

because I’ve been scribbling

the same poem for days.

Lately, I have stopped

not just mid-sentence but

at the beginning,

after the first letter,

or even between the space

where my hand moves

from air to paper.

Thoughts have become rotary,

a centrifuge that sticks me

to the sides of a tunnel

that leads nowhere:

no new sentence,

a full stop,

an abandoned take-off.






The darkness and fresh sheets

usually bring freedom

but now insomnia blinks

at a spotlight of moon.

Then, in the garden,

a commotion

in the frangipani tree.

Three tawny frogmouths

position themselves

for the night watch.

On my approach

two fly away

but one lingers

and looks at me

as my eyes adjust to

its face, head, wings

and the cat meowing

for attention.

The bird swoops

and lands on a fencepost.

I watch, walk towards it.

When I look up at the stars

the frogmouth disappears

as my nightdress billows

like cloud.






Light flutters

when the wick bends

into the melted wax.

Dreams are as illusory as

shadow play on a wall.

I can only pretend to inhabit

the sky’s wild beauty.






The blinds are down

so as to hold back

a stiff, chilly morning

whose stare will order me

into stuttering action.


The tepid sunlight

encourages reflection.

Midwinter, and

the pond water is sky-filled

with hints of blue.

This is the natural border

where the ancient scrub turkeys

pass on their daily route

into my world.

The children of crones,

all of them,

doused in limp, charcoal feathers

smelling of glacial ice.


They’ve torn up the garden,

dancing the staccato of

step, look, peck and scratch,

then digging

like mechanical hens.

They don’t soar,

for flight is a clumsy arc

that ends in roosting trees

or roofs.






I can’t see you.

You’ve wrapped yourself

in a blanket and say

the darkness is comforting.

I raise my arms as wings and

think of Spring.









Rosanna Licari is an Australian writer.  She has appeared in various journals and anthologies including foam:e, Island, Tincture, Shearsman (UK), fourW: New Writing, Idiom 23, Small Packages, Softblow 12th Anniversary Anthology: We are Multitudes (Singapore), Australian Love Poems and Global Anthology (Canada).  She is the poetry editor of StylusLit.