The Last Days Of The Giraffe
She stared down from her beige towerblock
onto an alien plain: zig-zag of roofs, wingless
cranes, zebra crossings and a sea of litter –
the new neighbours behaved like bushpigs.
Once she used to hoof it down the Thames
reflecting on The Shard, to graze on acacias
next to London Bridge. Her rubber-lined lips
twitched at the soft waft of lemony wattle
like a sengi scenting ticks. After she fell
from the tallest of stories, they tried
to reassemble her into an okapi, giraffe
in almost all but neck. But the waiting list
for a specialist in backs was way too long.
Towards the end of her lengthy decline,
a chain of restaurants was named after her
but chicken pide wasn’t exactly her thing.
When she died, the coroner reserved a verdict.
She stayed a towering presence in the memory
of residents who laughed about her high-minded
taste for mimosa, how they nicknamed her BT,
how it was all a big game and then it wasn’t.
Julian Bishop is a former journalist living in North London who’s had a lifelong interest in ecology and worked for a time as Environment Reporter for BBC Wales. A former runner-up in the Ginkgo Prize for Eco Poetry, he’s also had poems in Magma’s Anthropocene issue, The Morning Star and XR’s Rebel Talk. His first collection is due out in early 2023 from Fly On The Wall Press.