He’d crouched and scragged loose aubrieta strands
and flower-less leaves off the pond’s low wall.
Pause precedes recoil: for the thing is small
and pretty, sleek as a conker. He jags
back from it, stands. Some force lofts the spade
he’d sloped when haunched. Then sunshine softens it,
slows out rodent, mellows eyes, and there’s no skit
and scatter of the Tube’s swift greys which raid
imagination’s trouser leg. Ashamed
he shoulders the spade, watches the unhurried ball
watch him. Then it stall-starts, scuns mad riddle
eses on the grass lake, then suddenly tamed,
polite, it patters down the lawn, turns, stares
him up, for he’d followed, bristling, and felt
the shiver from the quick, static, fan-belt
run its legs wind up then spurt from, aware
now of his open French windows, his sons.
Clouds slash the glare across. The black thing hoists
a hungered sniff up at his sweats. They’re poised
like Gian Maria Volonté without guns.
As well as IS&T, Paul Connolly’s poems have appeared in Agenda, Warwick Review, Poetry Salzburg, The Reader, Scintilla, Dawntreader, Takahē Orbis, The Journal, FourXFour, Seventh Quarry, Sarasvati, Envoi, Obsessed with Pipework, Southlight, High Window, Nine Muses, and Eunoia Review.