Leaving the Grounded Feather Untouched
The birds are yet to wake when I collect my tools:
kitchen scissors, nail clippers,
secateurs, garden shears,
Before I open the door,
I gently snip a single popcorn
with the tip of the shears
for a puff of sweetness.
In the garden, I secateur a finger
of the hedgerow
to release the scent of sap.
I shear the morning air
to breathe the bleached newness.
Then to the sea.
On the shoreline I scissor a wave for salt
swing my axe to halve the smoothest pebble
sniff for sulphur and enclosed time.
Before I head home,
I clip the nails of an urban fox
to smell burnt miles and hunger.
I am done.
But on the pavement
there’s a herring gull feather
and before I know it I have picked it up
exposed the quill
and I am staring down the hollow tube
that has gifted flight.
I head home,
faint fish on my fingertips,
knowing I will try again tomorrow
and the next day
until I can leave the grounded feather untouched.
What do Elephants Dream of?
She wakes to find herself
already thinking again.
Today of rectangular bacon crisps.
It occurs to her they are the size
of old-fashioned cinema tickets.
She imagines using one for entry
to a film, a bus, a zoo.
She can feel the oiled crumbs sticking to
the pads of her thumb and index finger
thinks of licking them clean;
the colour and the corn gone,
that stubbornness of smell.
Last time she ate those crisps
she had red wine and thoughts of sex.
But she did not wonder what elephants dream of.
Not like now
when she asks herself if their legs twitch
when they dream they are running.
Whether they miss the dead so much they
wake saddened when they are not there again and again.
Do they picture the body?
The one they have returned to
to trunk the bones,
smell the cavity.
Sue Finch lives with her wife in North Wales. She tweets at @soopoftheday. Her debut collection, ‘Magnifying Glass’, was published in October 2020 with Black Eyes Publishing UK.