from Earlier


Rosanna Licari








The night is leaf-filled.

Rambling over

the mandevilla vine

your moving back hints

at the markings of zebra.

A flow of black and white stripes

tracing the chlorophyll and

devouring all you can

in the humid summer



Such is the confidence of hunger.


The morning after the feast

a green trance fills

your upside down world —

stillness, the withering of antennae.

A rigid encasement begins

at the head and you dissolve

into a milky embryonic pulp

that forms a silvery bauble.

It will hang for a week and

reflect iridescence:

blue  green  pink.

Beneath the skin of this,

the change to another life.

The pupa splits,

revealing a touch of dark wing.

You emerge crumpled,

damp for hours.  The white dots

on your body and wing margins

anticipate the final stop.

The drying completed and

with a sudden gust of wind

you enter flight.



*The Common Crow butterfly, Euploea core, is found in Australia and South Asia. 





The Art of Seduction*



Architecture is precise, considered.

First impressions matter.

Positioning each stick carefully

then stepping back to consider

the total effect.

The bower, two walls of twigs.

An avenue of love.


A female will choose one from many.


Before the entrance,

an array of ornaments à la mode:

a bright blue peg, indigo feathers,

turquoise thread, and the jewel,

a shard of cobalt glass.


Not scattered.  Placed.  Arranged.

And then reordered.


These are a lure.  An aphrodisiac.


And when the female arrives,

his dance begins —

the strut, the bow, the quiver.

Wings reach out wide

as if to welcome, he delivers

calls that rattle and buzz.


Ornament in beak, staring

with his violet eyes,

she will step inside, if

he can charm her.

There are sudden moves

and quick feathery exits.


He’ll place.  Arrange.

And then reorder.

An eager partner

poised for a dance

                         but with another.



*The Satin Bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus violaceus, is endemic to eastern and south-eastern Australia.  It builds and decorates a bower to attract females.  









Rosanna Licari is the poetry editor of the online literary journal, StylusLit.  Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies.  She has recently completed a Varuna Residential Fellowship to work on her collection, Earlier, which focusses on evolution and the natural world.