the clang of the door was the first
beat of a new song
pitter patters of bird feet echoed
along the empty concrete paths
slow melting sadness
became the midday sun
where u from sis?
         the new song line
spontaneity of soul
         the new coolamon
pencil on paper
         the new petroglyph
curlews left for the heavens
as magpies arrived
sunshine turned
the tree leaves red
what did we unlock
that day?

'The Bird Cage' was commissioned as part of Red Room Poetry's Unlocked program, held at NSW's Dillwynia Correctional Centre in 2012. Staff and residents were visited by poets Johanna Featherstone, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Gareth Jenkins, who engaged participants in a series of poetry workshops.

Identification was a major topic of discussion throughout the workshops, as poets and participants explored the importance of finding or developing an identity, especially for Indigenous Australians, and the role that poetry can play in this process. As with all Unlocked projects, the final outcome was a print anthology.