In the inky time before sunrise when the stars still show
I walk through our still standing house in my mind, hoping reality won’t notice
Carefully and calmly considering the things I would like to take with me
I bundle my poetry, papers and words, photos and children drawn pictures into my arms
Later, when the sun is shining and the dew is still thick
I circle the shell of my home for treasures
The young Cape Robin at my feet doesn’t seem to feel our species barrier, we are both bushfire refugees
He hops closer and closer and pecks up his own treasures from the burnt ground
Cocking his head he eyes me as if to say – you see there is still life here
I find my own treasures, bright yellow star shaped flowers have pushed up through the fynbos ash and ants drink from the suspended dew
Spinach grows again in the kitchen garden and burnt pages of poetry speak to me from the rubble
And the fresh miracle of surprise catches me in my throat as I catch sight of light green leaf shoots emerging from my daughter’s birth tree
The Fever tree lives! Its branches and twigs had crackled to the touch, but the burnt bark breaks off like a snake skin to reveal green tinged life underneath.
Me, the Robin and the Fever Tree stretch our living limbs and continue.
Rhian Berning, 2017