Melanie Saward is a proud descendant of the Bigambul and Wakka Wakka peoples. She is a writer, editor and university lecturer based in Tulmur (Ipswich), Queensland. Her writing has been published in Flock, Overland, Kill Your Darlings and New Australian Fiction 2022 and 2019. Her debut novel, Burn, was published by Affirm Press earlier this year.
When the birds scream
Non-fictionI read books in which girls like me made friends with cockatoos and galahs, and my mum told me stories about my pop in Queensland who could teach any bird to speak and to whistle his favourite country songs. My favourite story was the one about the bird who used to sit on his shoulder while he drove trucks for work. I wanted a bird that would sit on my shoulder, and I thought that because I had a pop who talked to birds, I could too. ut back then I didn’t realise the difference between teaching birds to speak with human voices and having birds speak to you with their own voices. It was a lesson I didn’t learn until Pop sent me Normie.