From the high window ledge of the house next door,
he looks down into our kitchen.
Two days since he landed, and whether we dance
to the radio or open a newspaper,
whether we chatter about nothing or argue over
whose turn to cook, whose to dish-wash,
our routines seem to matter more because he is there.
Nightfall, the iridescence braceleting
his neck, the rings – one pink, one emerald –
on his feet grow dim. We puzzle the compass of his
iron-tempered beak, said to catch
the magnetic register of the world, imagine him
blown off-course, or as a spy, or taking time out
to develop the photos he snapped
on the wing, to embellish the traveller’s tales he will
regale his friends with. Is he lonely
for a family we don’t know, whose resemblance
he sees behind our window? Or maybe
there’s a message he intends for us, about the fleeting
nature of everything, the tricky business
of enjoyments and how, late or soon,
we’ll feel at a loss on glancing up to find he has flown.
Patrick Deeley‘s seventh collection, The End of the World, recently appeared from Dedalus Press. He is the 2019 recipient of the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Poetry Award. His best-selling memoir, The Hurley-Maker’s Son, was shortlisted for the 2016 Irish Book of the Year Awards.