Running unsteadily towards the arc
of thrown corn she suddenly falters,
totters under the cherry tree
like a clockwork toy losing power
and sinks softly into fallen blossom.
Warm and yielding in the crook of my arm,
her beak opens for more air – such hard lips –
neck feathers a black cape over a white skirt,
a dumpy maid-of-all-work who never
quite got what was going on.
One last leap to dodge death – or maybe
to jump into it – she flutters like a book
falling, pages riffling through
everything she's lived, her eyelids
blinds shutting up shop.
In the evening when I come to bury her
she's transformed into a statue
as if she had decided on herself exactly;
how she would step out to meet
death on her own without the others
who have bullied her, snatched the treats,
left her out and not heard her creaky cry of
wait for me. Now it's dead easy:
her bowed head severe, beak shut,
claws a frozen gesture of conviction.
Christina Buckton lives near Cambridge. She has had various careers in the BBC, in education, counselling and play therapy. After she retired she worked as a educational writer. She has recently started to explore poetry in her eighties. She won On The Buses awards at the Guernsey International Poetry competition in 2018 and 2020. Her poems have been published in The North, Orbis, Stand, Dreich, Fenland Journal, Twelve Rivers, Indigo Dreams Dawntreader and Words for the Wild.