Spirit Mother

The dingo who visits
our yard with her pup, trotting
the narrow path through the eucalypt forest,
sniffing the swamp mahogany—

She looks in with disdain, set apart
from human cares, distanced
but on alert for food—

That mother dingo,
she is my spirit mother, checking in
to see how her daughter, her grandchildren, fare
in these wild, strange days.

I will tell this wild dog
my problems, I resolve to confide in her
as I would have detailed each little domestic trial
to my mother over morning coffee. Too late.

The yellow pelt
has disappeared with her shadow
into the dense bracken fern.

Julie Thorndyke


Julie Thorndyke has published widely in journals in Australia and overseas. Her picture books Waiting for the Night(2018) and Watching through the Day (2020) are available from IP Kidz and her novel Mrs Rickaby’s Lullaby (2019) from Ginninderra Press. She is current editor of Eucalypt: a tanka journal. juliethorndyke.com/

© 2020