Subhashini Kaligotla

Sydney Notebook


We fought all day, unmoved by light, which came in to plot trapezoids, stretching them longer and
longer until the glowing vertices reached all the way to the door and the entire lucent
geometry collapsed.


Do all your lines have the same value?

In the few minutes left, step back, decide what you want to emphasize: rub out some marks, make others.


Sudden gust—
Leaf sinking down jerks up
as though saved by the wind:
butterfly with yellow spots.


Step back, as far back as possible, go to the other side of the room if you have to.


Indian Mynas: singles, couples
The trident maple’s winter leaves.


Fought again, but not all day; more than half the day was sociable with resentments hidden,
though someone might have noticed how limply my hand lay in his; once we started, late in the day,
we continued till exhausted we went to bed with our backs curving in opposite directions.


Woke to rain. Woolloomooloo’s long, slant roof pale, washed. Three sulphur-crested cockatoos fly
by: their usual pitch dampened.


Rain again. The electric drill started once the rain stopped, then the metallic scrape of his cafetière’s
screwtop lid. I left my bed for his. Outside, two rock doves perched tiredly on the ledge,
throat feathers in clumps.


The zookeeper fed them—pineapple hunks, banana and, most prized, so reserved till the end,
coconuts. They raised black, shaggy arms and pointed to themselves, jumping like basketball players
to make a catch or steal a pass; some gave up and sulked, thinking she ignored them, but one,
right in front, persisted, till, in frustration, he caught a piece meant for one in back. We watched
with the rest. After the feed we walked down the hill and were gone.


Pay attention to the hard bits, the angular bits…what the soft stuff hangs on to.


That’s not a parrot: it’s orange tape tied to the trunk.


Sign at La Perouse: “The snakes will be back in September. No aboriginal market today.”

He sat cross-legged in the dirt fixing my sandal with a latchkey and a bit of suede; I stalked
honeyeaters with the zoom.


Returning from the lightkeeper’s cottage: high in the branches funeral cockatoos—black, unmoving,
soundless. The light, no good, he said. Now we know why they get their name.

Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry
Issue 1 | June 2010 | pp 29-34