Oystercatchers – Jean Atkin

Oystercatchers

So, I squat down by his still-perfect stripes. Lift him, warm and limp
…………..and the vehicle has wrecked the other side of his head.
…………..Try not to look in his ruined eye.

A robin and a blackbird sing, a tractor grumbles half a mile
…………..away. Already I am in Wood Field, planning a shovel
…………..and thinking what words can take his place.

After school he’s stiff and fully gone. The children white
……………with shock, they’ve not yet seen the death
……………of something young. We stand in Wood Field round a grave.

The nights are drawing in, it’s getting late. I lay him good eye up.
…………..Their sobs stream on and on over the hills, and shudder
…………..off the trunks of trees. The distant village listens to their grief.

Up there the clouds are dark and racing. Here, we are in this day.
…………..For keeps, in all our heads, the sobbing and
…………..the oystercatchers whistling.

 

Jean Atkin has published ‘Not Lost Since Last Time’ (Oversteps Books) also pamphlets and a novel.   Her recent work appears in Magma, Agenda, Ambit, Envoi, The North, Earthlines and The Moth.  She works as a poet in education and community projects.  www.jeanatkin.com  @wordsparks

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