Small body hard curved beak calls out caw or tweet

or maraca from the centre of its maw, its angular

jaw, its sharp needle-thread sowing nests together,

everything held in place like cartilage.


It stands in a drizzle, the cold going off and on again,

wings angelic and every bit fundamental, outspread

turning two times larger as though

a fully-grown adult. Shoots and swoops from chimney


in rain to gain its spot on churchtop drain.

Eyeing with wet black rosary eyes over scrubby land.

She is made of colour and light –

of down feathers and a similar vane,


oily-wet rictal bristles the way eyelashes flutter

and blink that catch you off-guard before you

think. And sit there for hours surveying the green

and grey and freely fly caught in warm sunlight bursts


and wait for land to dry and notice sideways glance

from under hooded brow, they know you’re there,

the flutter the applause the powerful frame from brawny wings;

golden, white, black or blue, chest heaves and outward breathes

and soon flies away.


Michael Holloway