Panic Bird

RED__Feather_Duster__Wallpaper_by_ShutteredReality

He’d gone on and on about the dog
in meticulous detail. We drank coffee
I shouldn’t be drinking:
freshly-ground, heart-thumping
Italian-roast
  and trembling spoons
as he described this creature
loping towards him, wet-tongued
and black as a galleon, massive paws
  eclipsing everything–
his mouth, his dinner,
his speechless clock
and its rolling, perpetual hours
  of moonless silence.

But the black dog didn’t come.
He stuck up his snout at me,
  padded away
and instead, the big red bird
made its roost
upon my shoulder.
The red bird,
its cawing, feathering,
  bright-as-a-button
panic I can’t switch off. At night,
cracking one eye
like a hatchling, the cackling Freud
on his sparrow-legs
dreams
of nosebleeds, leaks,
  bruises,
  red feathers
glued to my skull. And so
I take up insomnia
as though I were taking up knitting.

‘Nice glass of wine,’ he said, pouring,
‘to make you feel better,’
so here I am, blinking up
through the wide-bottomed glass–
  dizzy,
  buzzed out of my brains
in these four walls white
as rubber gloves
and my panic-bird huge
as a thumping heart
  flapping,
  crying,
never going to sleep.

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