An ash-grey ring around the iris
darkening to black; the eye’s cover slides
white, slides back, the eye locks
in on you. The prickly closeness
of smell as you offer small gobbets
of meat to the bucket beak,
the fluttering wings, the baby cries.
The softened sounds you speak, the nonsense,
are vocables of assurance.
You offer water; she dips to the vacancy
that liquid is to the eye; her beak
a shellac clack on the pot, then locates it;
the pink of her mouth, the snake-like tongue
lift and drip, lift and drip with it.
To sense her close, and growing away in this.
© Michael Murray (Highly Commended Entry for the RSPB/Rialto Competition 2015)
Many thanks to Michael for sending in his entry as well – the Rialto certainly seems to have inspired a number of our Maccwriters to flex their poetic abilities!