Jason Barry


Among the Weka

Stevensons Island, New Zealand

See again
the way the birds moved in,
their ducking under Mother—
seeking cover from

a shag or gull or whatever
it was that cast its
shadow onto landscape,
the fledging rails

finding solace under wing—
a rotting weasel carcass
between them and me.
Yet how they’d coo

and zee their necks as
soon as feeding moment
came, myself at first
intruder on the scene

and then—when birdseed
flew the air—how they’d
weave through tussock
grass near dock’s landing.

Once I tossed grey
pellets by the handful
on the outcrop,
cocked my snare to

ready, and waited
for the foraging chicks
to tiptoe onto wire.
When they approached

the trap in pairs,
Mother’s screech ricocheted
like a ring around
the island and they

scattered, headlong under
fern and feather canopy—
safe at least until
the rats came around.

The Feed

To feel her standing on our backs
was dreadful: the way she dug her claws
in when she jumped, a high-pitched scream

and snarl before the snap and shut of teeth,
a chunk of dangling meat above our necks.
The week before our trip, a Spanish tourist

got his forehead bitten off, a piece of curled skin
beneath the Rover’s shining headlights,
the blood-spotted hyena running off. . .

Our driver stopped. We knelt down
to the ground. The scent of cattle carcass
brought her eyes out of the darkness.

A camera flashed. We felt her pass
between us. I saw the dirt rise
when she turned around.

Jason Barry’s poetry has appeared in The Cortland Review, The Raintown Review, Angle (UK), Noble/Gas Quarterly, The Citron Review, and other journals. He has worked as a lecturer in English at universities in China, South Korea, and Mexico, and is a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow in the MFA program for writers at Boston University.