SONGSShe asked how he had made them
those bundles of words arranged on white paper.
After a while he looked up to the sky,
empty at first, except for air.
He breathed in as if it all belonged to him.
She followed his eyes.
The sooty albatross circles at dusk
bulky with superstitions it wheels round
leaving wet streaks on the page. He paused.
Chattering tits peck their way onto the paper
so fast it is difficult to distinguish the coal from the blue.
A solitary kestrel proffers dangerous words,
hovers then stabs, pencil sharp.
He moved his hand as if to point.
The kingfisher descends open beaked
to the tree the hedge the lake,
splashing colour, diving for those that swim deep.
I could talk of the flamingo, he said.
She breathed in as if it was her last,
searched the hill for a spill of shadows,
set up wooden cages, doors flapping open,
scattered sunflower seeds and dry crusts for luring
then waited, the words already fluttering on her tongue.