Polished WorkMature



His gum-coated tongue laps up flies

in a slow rolling motion. He goose-steps

with long black legs through trampled night sand

flicking up a fine dust.


She nestles into tall gutterings, curls

up to high-flown paper and leaves, and sleeps till

the sun sinks. Rain runs off her brown back,

only snow disturbs her.


At first light, sated, he walks the shoreline

ducking his head, sucking up water – a rasping

whistle through his teeth – the spray loosens rough

gum from his tongue.


They live separate lives. She attracts him

with a low murmering, excitement pitches

vibrations as far as half a mile, in waves

five minutes apart.


He picks up the signal, flies back and forth

across the river in a bid to escape but comes

closer to her position on every return journey

until he lands at her feet.


Mating over, he dances in rage – now leaving

now charging, though he is weak already.

He leaves her to bury the eggs, and screams

at the opposite bank.


She fucks him twice a year. The eggs hatch out

when the ground is soft, April, October….frost

would suffocate the young, they must fight

their way out with still-soft claws.


The moment their eyes open, necks stretch and

feet hook into a rival’s head, red is the first

colour they know. She clambers over his strong thighs

eyes on the road ahead.

The End

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