A Sound For Leaving
She came to us in June from a hard navigation
through coastal wind and hail.
A welcome inheritance,
she lit the inside of a disused garage.
The plate of an air-con unit
became her refuge and roost.
First she was mistaken for a wood pigeon –
Charlie said he’d seen one just like her
in the Barrington Tops, though Emily
said her breeding was more common
saying Hyde Park and inner city living.
Her beak was short and blunt
her eyes had nutmeg in them.
Her wings were brown, the breastfeathers
grey with cream striations.
Catching her involved a slow release
of hands and comforting words
and she’d beat at the air with her wing-joints –
the sound was like something
you hear inside your pillow
when fever amplifis the blood.
By the end of August she was gone,
her place in the garage consigned
to dust and the feathers she’d discarded.
We looked for her daily in the sky
over Avalon, in the empty dark.
She had a sound for welcome, and would strut
in tight circles each time we came home.
Whatever sound she had for leaving
was like her name – unknown,
and she is loved for it.