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A movie is interrupted
by a call from mum			 
beside a lake under marri trees 
exultant at the full moon 
rising over the water
stuffed with birds
there must be thousands of them
she shouts - an ornithologist 
would go mad.

It’s the end of the hottest summer on record
municipal engineers have raised the lake 
with ingenious weirs
saving endangered species of waders 
migrating from Asia
the water ripples around their long, spindly legs 
she has called from her folding chair 
beside the caravan 
under the Djeran moon
to tell me this 
the eucalypts surrounding her like a shawl
as the feathers drift to shore.	

It’s nice to know that somewhere 
nature is happy
and mothers are happy
and engineers can get it right
I walk outside with the phone at my ear
and see the same full moon
rising over the asbestos fence
there must be thousands of houses
stuffed into this suburb		
an anthropologist would go mad.

At the end of the hottest summer on record
I am stuck in a city like a cage stuffed with birds 	
where social engineers use ingenious algorithms
to control viruses 
migrating across the globe
there are supply chain breakdowns 
and angry mobs
rattling the cage.

I tell her to take a photo and put it on Facebook
so that everyone can see
from the comfort of their cages
the moon like a jewel		
the project in fruition
the migration to the future
the flapping wings and shining beaks
the rising water 
the changing seasons		
the fresh mud full of prints 
and make five million likes 
next to mum
beside the lake 
at the end of summer.

The science inspiring the piece:

I have been involved for 30 years in bushland regeneration, particularly around the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain in WA, a passion I share with my mother who has also invested in community purchases of valuable habitat properties. One of these is Lake Mealup near the Peel-Harvey Estuary, one of the largest freshwater lakes left on the Plain, and recognised in the Ramsar Agreement as essential habitat for migratory wading birds from Japan and Siberia. Her group recently funded the construction of a weir to maintain water levels in the lake over summer, the success of which is
celebrated in this poem.