The straggled skin of the goldfinch
we fed for weeks on black seed
lay on the muddled path after the downpour.
Rain-scragged plumage dragged into quill points
each writing the quenched fire of a half bird,
the failed spark of some guttered pyre.
His tiny cape of streelish feathers
spatchcocked on the marl,
his small red mask, the peeping
wingstreak of yellow, gave off
the flittering joy he had given us.
I couldn’t tell you he has gone;
just as I can’t tell you we are a thing
torn in half, dragged onto
death, cold as wet ash.
September, and her house nearly clear.
Successive visits of sorting, packing,
charity shops, recycling, dump.
Finding her in chains of necklaces,
hangars of blouses and dresses.
Handmarks on doors from midnight
wanderings, screw holes from handrails,
shadow of the stairlift.
Bouquets of flowers in the windows,
their plastic petals needing a Flash rinse.
On the bare dresser; St Anthony,
now headless, jars of change, a passport
used for the funeral of her last sister.
The pair of them, thick as sisters, beam
from the sole remaining photo
sellotaped to the fridge.
With no bread bin for the backdoor key,
toss it on the empty dresser.
Pull the door behind you.
For he is whippet of the race of gaze hounds.
For he is embroiled in muscle unless
he is being the cat prince ensconced
on someone else’s favourite chair.
Wind is in him – he overtakes it
yet will not stir out the door to meet it.
Yet meeting it out on the green or in the wood
he will chase and turn it tearing
out his angling dew claws on his carved reverb.
Squirrels are his sworn nemesis
from some ancestral feud.
When he comes upon a drey he halloos all his kin
to its destruction till he be taken from the fray
in a writhing mass of sinew and bowstring.
Rain he will not abide on his countenance
but regally shiver till a bondservant
gives him ingress, plies him with his cloak
as he takes his throne.
The above poems are Copyright © Paul Bregazzi, 2023