Some deep mystery of plumbing
or a soft door flapping in a wild wind -
the air is taking a beating somewhere
in the walls. I put down the paper
and rise listening. Only the creak
of heating, the calm breathing
of distant traffic. Again, a fan-dance,
a regatta of sails in a storm, applause.
A bird caught behind the firescreen,
swallowed by the house at night.
I ease the gas fire forward, peep
behind the screen. A shape shifts
in the dark – a plume of soot,
a gust of down. The next is
a hand-held blur: a fly-half
heading home, the bird against
my chest like a second heart,
I skim the corridor, clear the stairs
and hit the grass running. My face
is full of wings and she rises
up the flue of air between
the fir trees and across the roofs.
We are released, me, to dark
containment, she, to the empty sky.
I'll be making housecalls just as soon as holiday (sorry, vacation) begins.