Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Bird


The bird flew straight, hitting the bus
and exploding through the front window
in a mangle of feathers. No-one reacted.

It was as if indifference had blown in,
the only fitting English response silence.
People had their windows to look out of.

Shocked, I walked down the aisle, picked
the bird up and sat with it cradled in my lap.
The narrow street unfolded below me.

It’s neck was askew as it looked up at me
and I could feel its heart beating weakly.
Did it know it was dying? With no weight,

a thing I could easily crush, resting lightly
in my hands, it shuddered once and simply
stopped. I held crumpled bones, feathers,

an intolerable lightness. I walked home
and dug a shallow grave to bury it in.
That night, sitting out in the dark, I saw

a rat nosing nonchalantly across the yard,
its hunched form a solid knot of muscle,
neither of us acknowledging the other.

In Australia, my niece was being born.
When I eventually got to hold her in my arms
she looked at me, unwaveringly, in the eye.



30 May 2016

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