Outside, herself again, effects of kill
and cure alleviated by the news,
she’s dancing early morning Braille grace notes
along the woodland ride. She pauses, high
on her consultant’s view, “Not visible,”
charmed by a ring-of-feathers fairy sign
against the broken stile. “Yon sparrow hawk,”
he answers to the question on her mind
as yet unasked; “her feeding post.” She knows
him from the local, captain’s chair, beer mug
above the bar; old gamekeeper, skin like
gnarled bark, wax jacket, corduroy, retired.
“Whole different world,” to poison, trap or shoot
all compromises to his grand design:
“I’d bide nest-side for hours, stock still. One day
she lighted on my gun, dark mantle, wing,
locked feet, mere inches from my gaze.” He peers
behind her fear-crazed eye and reads her pain,
admires her pulsing breast, life force within.
“I let her be that spring. Next year? Lord knows!”
Peter Branson has been published or accepted for publication by journals in Britain, USA, Canada, EIRE, Australia and New Zealand, including Acumen, Ambit, Envoi, Magma, The London Magazine, Iota, Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Nottingham, Pulsar, Red Ink, The Recusant, South, The New Writer, Crannog, Raintown Review, The Huston Poetry Review, Barnwood, The Able Muse and Other Poetry.