We find you, dear Wing, 

in the half-dark 

on the way back from the piglets, 

your knuckle of raw bone 

and streak of claw-white quills 

torn from the socket. 


A grey goose soars 

up high where hot-air balloons drift 

and the wind is a shape 

to wrap yourself around 

solid but unseen, a somersault 

inside the womb; 


here, folded to a cup of hands, 

plump as a wood pigeon 

in the long, flat January grass 

you are singular and intense 

like a girl breathing quietly by a window, 

her just-cut hair pressed against the glass. 

from An Aviary of Small Birds (Carcanet, 2014), © Karen McCarthy Woolf 2014, used by permission of the author and publisher.

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