i wore a bird as a metaphor,
i was a bird as a metaphor,
i wore a bird, the feathers trembled at my wrists,
i could not tell if i had chosen it,
i was rare, hooked bird by evening,
once more passerine come morning,
and all their bodies glazed and limp,
and all their bodies, raised by me,
i learnt something very young,
birds stand for everything,
i love birds so completely it occludes birds,
i keep them safely sealed in cupboards,
i have fluttering intimations of this being wrong,
but without birds,
how could i feel like the idea of one
Between floors, my dentist
offered me a smoke
and said it would not kill me here.
He was a hologram,
the unportentous theme-park sort,
and I felt reassured.
I took a drag and coughed
a little, spat a gust of smoke
and shocked-lung spittle
at the lift’s gold mirror. I said,
I missed the sun.
By which I meant, I missed
that slender interlude in time
when sun was neither
god nor threat.
My dentist gestured
at the gentle lamps, mouth
flickering, offering to jam us here,
where the doors wouldn’t open.
I felt frightened,
but he lit a Viceroy,
flashed his even teeth
and snickered. Oh come now,
things won’t be any different.
Rachel Piercey is a poet, editor and tutor, who writes for adults and children. Her latest
pamphlet, Disappointing Alice, was published by HappenStance in 2019. She is co-host of
The Whole Story, a monthly poetry, prose and music night at The Poetry Café, London.