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Cuckoo

 

On bake days

1pastry trimmings,

12salty sweet,

11melted beneath

11your pink tongue

11as you watched her

1peeling cookers,

gullet raised to catch

the coils of bright green skin.

1All she touched

11was toothsome –

111down to cut-off

1111sandwich crusts

1111you’d gather up

111for bird food,

11sucking the chewy wedges

1as you ran –

outside, while robins

1sparred for ground,

1a cuckoo chick,

11huge in its nest,

111screeched betrayal

111at the hapless dam

11no longer fit

1to sate its outgrown

needs – a meadow pipit,

egg-tooth cowed,

now baffled by

1the vector of

11her fledgeling’s

111maiden flight.

 

 

© Amanda Bell, first published in First the Feathers, Doire Press, 2017

Picture 11123540, 20th century photograph, image copyright Mary Evans / Everett Collection

 

 

Amanda Bell’s publications include First the Feathers (Doire Press, 2017), which was shortlisted for the Strong Shine Award for best first collection; Undercurrents (Alba, 2016), which won a HSA Kanterman Merit Book Award and was shortlisted for a Touchstone Distinguished Books Award; The Lost Library Book (Onslaught, 2017); and the loneliness of the sasquatch, from the Irish by Gabriel Rosenstock (Alba, 2018).  She is the recipient of a Literature Bursary from the Arts Council of Ireland, and is assistant editor of The Haibun Journal.  A new collection, Riptide, is forthcoming from Doire Press in September 2021.  www.clearasabellwritingservices.ie