Vase of Caged Birds
after Flock of Paper Birds by John McCullough
I hurt for the father of my childhood to be gone.
I enamelled the thunder of his anger
into a vase of caged birds. They scratch out
alphabets with their keratin nibs,
writing chainmail into my flesh, trailing
like a dropping feather from the sky
into this poem, retching ribbons of nouns
as morning robins. A blackbird
makes its presence known, settling
on my tongue as an empty house
of dove-white words, making my father
as translucent as the stem of a feather.
The Uterus Encyclopaedic
She felt the grim maul of a cheap suited
surgeon’s thumbs inside her birth canal,
nodding the plum feathers of gas and air
she felt the downy hush of a needle
going into her spine, riddling across
the dispatches of her skin. We held hands
as the likeliness of witnessing a
transfiguration occurrence became
Lilliputian. The point we joked about,
that you couldn’t award vital existence,
is acquiesced. Exquisitely grotesque,
your pink tissue origami stretches
like an open encyclopaedia,
all the bawling world does a belly flop.
Grant Tarbard is the author of ‘Loneliness is the Machine that Drives the World’ (Platypus Press) and ‘Rosary of Ghosts’ (Indigo Dreams). His new pamphlet ‘This is the Carousel Mother Warned You About’ (Three Drops Press) and new collection ‘dog’ (Gatehouse Press) will be out this year.