I was seven when
the neighbour’s cat caught a pigeon
and dragged its twittering, tattered trunk
through our kitchen.
The cat and her mouth,
now clean and empty, seemed innocent,
but the errant trail of crumpled feathers
gave it up.
We hid it from mam,
stayed up in shifts, fostered and fed it sugar
water from a spoon, playing each other’s
game of nurse.
I remember the thrill
waiting for the magical renewal we were
led to expect: a resurgence promised that
would never come.
It fell still then,
its beak soaked, sticky with sugar, as its
drowned and silent body lay between us,
ruined and scrap.
Sometimes I wake from
shadowed dreams to see the smothered thing
in its throes, and I do not sleep. We were not
what you think.