Sandhill Dunnart

Sminthopsis psammophila

If this dunnart was dog-sized you’d know more about it.

It is a postage stamp on the desert’s officious brown envelope.

A vicious little tyke, it’ll continue to bite your fingers, even

through gloves. It fits into your pocket, some tan handkerchief

children forget to use. A night-prowler. A grenade-tipped arrow

that Rambo might shoot at an enemy; its movements explosive.

Hides during the day like a sniper, deep down in a dead spider’s

tunnel, it has a werewolf’s seasonal patience & hunger. Light’s

bloody withdrawal awakens its appetite. An insect killer, it falls

on moths like a wedge-tail trained to take down drones. Teeth

no larger than a swiss army knife saw, it chews on exoskeleton

crackling, eating its own bodyweight. We will never keep up

with them; newborn arrive every fortnight like a paycheque.

Our cats play with their toy mice inside, honing their skills.

B. R. Dionysius was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published five collections of poetry, two chapbooks, an artist’s book and a verse novel. His ninth collection, 'Critical State’ was published in September 2022. He was short-listed in the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize, teaches English & Literature, lives in Brisbane and in his spare time watches birds.