Gift – Mat Riches


You’re hooked up at home, plumbed into machines
for hours, as your kidneys are pressure-washed.
Nothing to be done but stare out
of converted office windows
at resident blackbirds.

Your cat wanders through to offer the gift
of a frightened hatchling caught in its jaws.
I’ve not brought so much
as a seedless grape.

Outside, the older birds strafe the garden,
pointlessly singing We are here.
Where are you?


Mat Riches is ITV’s poet-in-residence (they don’t know it). His work’s been in Dream Catcher, Firth, London Grip, Under The Radar, Atrium, Orbis, South, Obsessed With Pipework, and Algebra of Owls. He’s tweets as @matriches and blogs at

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