For Every Bird, A Nest
At the point where harbour wall curved onto sand, we found seagull chicks. Dead. Alison wanted to preserve them. She had seen a BBC documentary. Rows of dead things in jars.
“God is dead,” she said, repeating a slice of the narrative. “Myself is mutilation and separation.”
Under a furnace God-less blue sky, we placed the cadavers into a Woolworths’ plastic bag and carried them home. They were cramped into an old jar, which Alison filled with methylated spirits. The chemicals gnawed at their raw skin and released a flotilla of pinkish shavings. These fizzed to the surface, like drunken divers sprung from the seabed.
Alison shook the jar and pressed her giant’s face against the glass. Birds swayed violently, on verge of flight or opening minute beaks. Whirlpool soon faded.
Shortly, Alison placed the birds on a baking tray, as she had seen her Mother prepare Sunday roast. “Robbie Bach,” she addressed me coldly. “When they cook, you must eat them.”
As a metronome pulsing out of control,
My heart beat in tune with gradients of fear.
Never ate the avian appetiser, instead
Buried in the baked clay.
The world became thinner
In space between skin and bone;
Small heart rattled in rib cage
All surface, no feeling
Of raked breaths in cored depths.
In the minutiae of everything unravelling
I built nests from pub sawdust
Twigs so tiny they couldn’t hold a blaze.
Bundles of letters, summer sundries
Pavement rain cracking my skull.
A curate’s egg could never fulfil me
Or make me worship or whole?
In a hollowed tree, in glade greened,
A pair of brown eyes
Has always waited for me.
What of Alison? Well, she found home in various youth detention centres and finally Reading Jail. She was to die of a heroin overdose in a vomit soaked bedsit over a Soho sex shop. Her body was flanked by reams of written verse. Well, not quite. That may have embellished ordinary lives with a romanticised stupid notion of poetry and squalor, but in reality, she became an accountant. Settling for suburban family duties. It open to conjecture whether she ever visited Soho or fed her kids baby bird pie? I envy her two fold security.
The intended pic was not really appropriate. So settled for pic on pininterest.