A Frances Johnson, ‘The Wind-up Birdman of Moorabool Street’

The Wind-up Birdman of Moorabool Street

People may agree that
‘the wind-up bird ticks’
‘the real bird chirps’
‘the man speaks’
But you have never known
what makes you tick, chirp or speak
You turn malachite eyes
to grim truths as to happy
oblivious to infinitesimal shifts
in your fine bone mass
the cold rush of blood
hurling robin-red
along the miniature flight paths of your body
Each day you take flight
double-breasted, with a tie
caw-caw-caw your urgent office chat
Your flight instincts are made over into ‘acceptable departures’
The downy sleight of your neck and head
helps others avoid perceptions of hairlessness
the repetitions of your sharp, focused hands
their deft studied motions over a briefcase full of seeds
– these are all good
the best possible excuses for not speaking
Darling creature, you almost never flutter
You almost pull it off
this blood masquerade
Until the rains come and the worms tessellate the garden
Then the wind-up bird ticks within and without
and in the grey morning light
I see you in your business suit
bent stiff-legged over your prey beneath the elms
singing at the top of your voice
as car alarms screech
on Moorabool Street

from  The Wind-up Birdman of Moorabool Street   by A. Frances Johnson

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