My dad pushes thumb and forefinger
into the sides of the cat’s jaws,
squeezes them open. Feathers fall.
Briefly, he admires the stealth of it;
the cat’s open-mouthed leap
into a constellation of swifts
that never earths
onto unbalanced feet –
one bird caught from all those
hurtling through the air like thrown stars –
then he opens the nest of his hands,
empties the bird into the dark
where its own gravity pulls it upwards.
My dad does not tell me
that he is a god to birds, their resurrector
until years later
and even then
he treats it as inconsequential.
Fiona Cartwright’s poetry has appeared in various places, including Mslexia, Envoi, Interpreter’s House and Under the Radar. She lives near London with her husband and daughters, and works as a ecological researcher.