Birds by Caoilinn Hughes

By Caoilinn Hughes In Poetry

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27th December, 2012 Leave a Comment

Somehow, his beard is rude, thought Sid.
It seemed to ridicule him, bobbing up and down
in one piece like a Tui bird’s tuft.
Sid was perched on his barstool; Brian, lodged;
elbows on the counter, heads dropped.

‘I hear you’ve a woman,’ the corners of Brian’s grin
were cut off by his scouring pad moustache,
whose steel wool looked as if it had scrubbed
many a burgundy bartop. It stank of woodworm.

Sid pressed his tongue against his hard palate
to stop the bile from fizzing. ‘I do, yeah.’
They both squinted into their pint glasses;
Sid, as if into a microscope; Brian, a shotgun.

‘She’s old… says the fellas,’
Brian clicked his tongue. ‘Forty anyway?’

Sid could sense the beard angle towards him.
He felt the blood reverse from his groin,
perhaps never to return. Gripping the glass,
he opened his throat like a chamber
and swallowed the Tui in one. It practically clunked.
Golden ammo, he thought, hopeful.

‘Sure isn’t my wife younger than that!’ Brian caved in,
wheezing like a forge bellows, the beard nodding wildly.

Sid pushed the barstool back, using the pads
of his forearms against the countertop.
Sweat collected on his far-flung hairline
as he thought of comebacks: Your wife is …

Brian prompted: ‘Eh?’

Sid made brave sounds that were beyond the human register –
beak agape, Adam’s apple throbbing – before shrinking away.

27th December, 2012 Leave a Comment

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