Unwanted. Tying. Plan-gnawing.
He arrives with a hutch like an Anderson shelter
and multiple instructions.
There is a goodbye
and an unspoken promise
of a suitable duty-free Scotch.
My stretched fingers find him nervous in a corner.
As he should be.
His piss gradually fills the conservatory,
the smell of it,
though I find I can soon divine
the separate tangs of fur and pellets and piss.
Summer beats on and I open the windows
before heading out. In the shop queue
I suddenly picture him
lying inexplicably dead
and crack an egg getting home.
He is sat in his hutch as if nothing had happened.
bimbling about the tiles
with bits on the end of his whiskers,
finally accepting the nuzzle of a curled index finger.
After he goes,
things come off pause;
I drink my reward
in the sun-soaked garden,
think of inadequate phrases
like ‘scrap of life’
and when I’ll sweep up the straw.
Girl and Scarecrow
Do you remember the golden days?
Me swinging a bucket of blackberries
across the field, a slender breeze
and your cheek turning to meet my cheek.
You were quiet, yes,
but God you could listen,
listen to all my circle-talk:
the brambling words of a farm-girl fool;
you were there to hear my thoughts
You were a wreck, yes,
but so was I:
torn blue dress, juiced-up eyes,
and when the bad times came and went,
I had the cling of your threadbare chest.
At our backs
we felt the town pulse on,
persuading itself of itself;
we watched the sky gather up its clouds,
saw midnight twisted inside out.
Then you were gone,
left no remains –
no ebony feathers, no trace.
Just a hole in the ground
smoothed fresh with turf,
wide as a mouth
plugged up with dirt.
Jonny Rodgers is a writer of poetry and short fiction from the Northwest of England. His publications include: Envoi, The Cadaverine, Prole, Sculpted: Poetry of the Northwest, Best of Manchester Poets volumes 2 and 3, and Cake.
Image credit: Peder Skou