Living next door to a man who keeps pigeons

Pigeons

 

Living next door to a man who keeps pigeons

 

We only compare notes at first light, when he goes
to open up the hatch, grey bib-and-braces, ill-fitting.

They boil out from the coop, and I stand gawking,
open-mouthed throughout their exercise hour,

following each hypnotic circuit overhead as they pass,
a mist of frantic wing-beating, synchronised like a

herring shoal slicing up the sea, flashing silver
on the upstrokes. I will strike him as a bored ghost,

perhaps, there behind the glass. Or an abandoned
mannequin wearing unfashionable clothes in the

window of an empty shop, mutely oblivious to those
eye-sized spatters weeping down the sash-panes.

 

Original version first published in Otoliths, 2018

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Why we are not birds yet

Why we are not birds yet

Why we are not birds yet

It is not solely the weight of our bones,
and the seriousness of the marrow crowding
their cavities, leaving no room for air.

Nor is it the sorry failure of our shoulders,
too pre-occupied with the burdens of
reason, guilt and all those things we’d

prefer not to know, to ever operate wings.
We may grow flight feathers, and knit them with
wax strong enough for orbiting the sun, because

we are amazing, after all, especially to ourselves,
yet still we cannot circulate comfortably in
three dimensions, even through the fine skin

of our atmosphere. Our attempts to do so will
ultimately be the death of us. The only choice
we have, if any, is how quickly to fall.

 

first published in Rat’s Ass Review, Fall-Winter 2016 Issue

Damage options

DO

Damage options

 

Sometimes there is no sign of a struggle.
Perhaps they are brought to the house already dead,
molested a little, and then abandoned.
They seem more forlorn this way, inert and muted,
like they simply fell from the sky and managed
to land underneath this particular chair in the kitchen,
or in the middle of apparently random spaces.

It’s different when they’ve put up a fight, however
futile; the scattering of fragments will spread
to several rooms. The heavier feathers
hang like jetsam, beached and unmoving,
while the down, with its filigree whisperings,
takes flight whenever a door opens, almost lighter
than the air it would’ve been used to capture.

 

first published in Mad Swirl, 2016

Jumper

Jumper

Jumper

 

He first appeared only in an eye corner,

the image flickering through my open window

like a lightning bolt would’ve, bold,

yet fleeting enough to seem unreal.

Any mortal would’ve failed, and glissaded

down those greasy, pangolin-scale slates,

but his striding boasted of a certainty

way too genuine for the early morning,

so I guess he must’ve been a god, or

possibly an angel clutching a ticket home.

With the cathedral summit crested,

and my unnecessary attention now all his,

he raised two arms and punched a hole

in the unexpected emptiness above him,

before laughing his heart to pieces and

letting go of that burdensome anchor,

as he flew off to the other side of the sky.

 

first published in Ink, Sweat and Tears, 2016