Annamaria Quaresima πŸ”ˆ

Read in landscape mode!

Wonderchicken: 66 Million Years Ago, an Asteriornis Dreams of the Future

I see, I stretch – my neck, I peck – seaweed, savory
out of sand. Shore laps lazy but not I, no, I always
scout, always patrol; my stilt-built legs, my all-eat-beak,
my bright eyes sight, I wonder at it all: 1. food-things
2. fear-things 3. green-things, 4. the unknowable many.

I tilt head, listen to the land (it chirps, it creaks, it rustles,
and it snaps): things always move. My big cousins – rumble
earth with weighted voice, leather giants, distant. I hesitate –
then fleet my feet, feathers ruffled (later I will preen, tuck in
content: the warmth-of-nest).

I squawk at fading sky; night falls. I huddle, quiet; sleep comes
quick, I dream my fill and the stars fall – down, shattering on fire
around me. Blazing rock plummets, disturbs all with its blasts;
a fear-thing happens – vast. I wait, submerged in shelter
and dream turns to change, beyond: strange birds emerge,

the green-things stretch, sea-things shrink. What is this? What
do I see? I wonder at it all. I wake; open eyed, nothing –
changed, another dawn satisfies; I rise, brush past ferns
in growing light – and departing dreams too, brushed aside
for feeding, my feet take me to the moving blue. I sight a spiral,

in shiny white - duck fast, grab that shell, hiding salted-flesh delight.
Got it! Gulping, satisfied. Later, I spy a long dark, a lung-fish,
a gleaming too-big food-thing (I must ignore). Like me, it fits the ferny
land, the foaming sea – it adapts, lives in all. It plods with solid
fin-flippers treading shore. Sudden, I now recall my dream – such
a strange fear-thing. But: if life changes – birds a bit like me – will still
survive. My eyes take in the Cretaceous scene; I wonder at it all.

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About the Author

Annamaria R. Quaresima (she / her) received a Ph.D. in Psychology from The University of Adelaide and currently resides in Sydney, Australia. She enjoys having more hobbies than time and researching anything.