Robert Ford

Living next door to a man who keeps pigeons

We only compare notes at first light, when he goes
to open up the hatch, grey bib-and-braces, ill-fitting.

They boil out from the coop, and I stand gawking,
open-mouthed throughout their exercise hour,

following each hypnotic circuit overhead as they pass,
a mist of frantic wing-beating, synchronised like a

herring shoal slicing up the sea, flashing silver
on the upstrokes. I will strike him as a bored ghost,

perhaps, there at the window. Or an abandoned
mannequin wearing unfashionable clothes in the

window of an empty shop, mutely oblivious to those
eye-sized spatters weeping down the sash-panes.

I want to kill your dog

Actually, that’s not true.
What I want to do is
take him out for coffee,
somewhere quiet and
unthreatening –
that new place just off
the High Street, perhaps,
where you sit on bean-bags
and they play Coltrane.

He could have whatever
dogs have, and I’d
offer him that little
biscotti from my saucer
as a goodwill gesture,
although I imagine
he’d prefer a beef
or chicken-flavoured one.

Because I’m sure we could
connect in a different,
less rudimentary way,
you know. Maybe not.
At least I would be
careful to keep my hands
under the table, out of sight.
I wouldn’t want to make him
feel uncomfortable.

Robert Ford's poetry has appeared in both print and online publications in the UK and US, including The Interpreter's House, Dime Show Review, Butcher's Dog and San Pedro River Review. More of his work can be found at https://wezzlehead.wordpress.com/.
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