Kestrels followed us, the whistling kestrel
and the black kelstrel too.
Their twiggy nests were balanced
in the skeleton trees we passed
as the priest drove us through the desert
over scented herbs and seedy grass heads,
through creeks and boggy lake edge pools.
The women painted lake mud on our faces, necks,
arms and legs. The serpent watched.
The kestrels hovered like spirits
or like questions no one’s answered yet.
We swam like worshippers and left
dripping lake water on our laps and feet.
The kestrels kept to the heights
until we bogged, bogged hopelessly in mud
the distracted, blessed priest drove us into.
The kestrels settled on their trees
and watched us falling to our knees
and chaining car to car in the hope that
by some miracle the wheels would grip
so life could take its usual course again,
no resurrections, no magic, just the shadow of a kestrel
crossing the yard in the morning, the ordinary morning.