| +44(0)20 8318 0034

Picture 10458244, colour woodcut by Hokusai, circa 1810, image copyright Mary Evans / Interfoto/Bildarchiv Hansmann

I Thought of Those Captive Birds
by Jackie Gorman


A hotel room at 5am in New York,

12345678901your hands chasing mine in the half-light.

123456I thought of those captive birds in Helgoland acting out patterns of migration.

Northern Wheatears putting on weight, facing south and flapping their wings,

12345678901as scientists observed them in cages.

123456The sheets were warm and flimsy, as my hymen once was

when it was quickly broken.

123456In the way that a forensic artist builds a face from a fragment,

12345678901a body can build a different sense of itself from just one day.

A still point of joy mingled with the fur scent of your neck,

123456sweaty from driving in New Jersey.


123456Hours later, I walked alone to the Natural History Museum.

At the Alaska Brown Bear Diorama,

123456through the glass I could sense their primal warmth.

I felt the hotel room key warm in my pocket

12345678901and wrapped my fingers around it.

In the giftshop, I bought a Hokusai print from the album

123456Ehon tsui no hinagata – models of couples.

Sparse lines, her head thrown back, curling fingers and toes,

123456entanglement and golden light.

Only yesterday, I noticed the expression of her face.

123456Then I remembered how the young man in the museum shop

blushed when I handed him the print

12345678901and looked straight into his hazel eyes.



© Jackie Gorman

Picture 10458244, colour woodcut by Hokusai, circa 1810, image copyright Mary Evans / Interfoto/Bildarchiv Hansmann



Jackie Gorman is from the Irish midlands and her first collection, The Wounded Stork, was published by The Onslaught Press, UK in May 2019. In 2017, she won the Listowel Writers’ Week Single Poem Award and was commended in the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards Poem of the Year Award. In the same year she was part of the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series. She has recently completed a Masters in Poetry Studies at Dublin City University and has had work published in Poetry Ireland Review, The Lonely Crowd and The Honest Ulsterman among other journals.


ABOUT How to use us
Our history
Usage examples
PICTURES Artists' directory
Celebrity Anniversaries
Historical Anniversaries
Contributor Collections
Mood boards
Buy prints
CONTACT / LEGAL Contact us
Terms & conditions
Privacy policy