Somewhere between rose and black
This evening I sit on the river bank,
sun low in the sky, wrapping my back.
I think of water, how it cares nothing for deeds,
good or bad. Whoever’s chest your head rests on,
it will still smooth prickled thoughts from your hair;
still swirl the softness of your body, won’t coil away
I sit on the river bank, the light dropping somewhere
between rose and black.
I slip my feet inside the shallows –
know they would graze on the pebbled floor,
but feel the dusk-cooled water stroke them clean.
Watching the Ocean
Love is like trying to catch
a fish with your hands.
The glitter draws us –
each scale a silvered kiss, waiting
to be plucked from the tide.
Playing just below the surface
it looks so easy to reach out,
no need for lines or hooks.
As you grasp at a tail
flipping over waves
you see it might slip through fingers.
Better to try than spend a lifetime
just watching the ocean.
Feeding the Jays
I hung up the sheep’s breast bone –
my bird table offering for the year’s infant months.
I could sense fear when they first flew in,
cautious twitching heads as they weighed their safety.
Persuaded, their ravenous beaks set to work,
stopping only occasionally to hop, amused,
around the rack of bones. Such appetite,
despite being only the size of my hand.
This was not a selfless gift. Days lighten
when I see those green wings fly in;
black heads bobbing for the fat they are hungry for.
We are all starving – desperate to make our bodies full.
I thought of them as children.
He perched on his father’s shoulder,
while she rested in my hands.
Early morning, their insistent beaks
would tap the window for food,
perched on their window-sill cot.
I learned their tastes, fed sunflower
seeds from my palm.
I watched fluffed feathers grow smooth
against growing bodies.
In the skies that came,
they chose the garden’s touch
instead of mine. Paired together
they grew shy, found the hedge-lining,
jumped the border and flew to their own nest,
away from human eyes.
Claire Walker’s poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies and webzines including The Interpreter’s House, Ink Sweat and Tears, Clear Poetry, Prole, and The Chronicles of Eve. Her first pamphlet, The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile, is published by V. Press. She has recently become a Poetry Reader for Three Drops from a Cauldron.