Ortolan

Lisa Matthews

Five hand spans wide, I smooth
the cloth over the board
and spit on the flat face of my iron.

She has to feed the birds, prying open
their tiny beaks, filling their gullets
forcing grain into guts. I watch her fingers
ball up tender morsels.

The points of their eyes follow
the air that flows past from the window.
Too terrified now to feel fear, they sit quietly
perched above the armagnac.

There is flour on the tabletop,
I pause in passing and write with my finger:
"my hands are wings, your skin the sky".
Chef comes in and brushes it off.
He looks at me and at my cuffs and then
he walks away.

At serving time she takes me by the elbow,
walking me quickly in a diagonal line across
the garden, past the pond and to the boathouse
where the dank dark water makes dirty smudges
down her arms. "I saw it", she says with only me
between her and the wall, "I saw the table."



Lisa Matthews

Lisa Matthews has published two books of poetry (Postcard from a Waterless Lake, Diamond Twig Press, and The Deadheading Diaries, Dogeater Press) and is currently putting the finishing touches to her third collection.

Lisa lives on the north east coast of England and runs her own creative writing business, The/Poetry/Fold.

In the first year of a part-time PhD to explore her "Strange Bedfellows" teaching/practice methodology, Lisa will be writing online about her academic research at FoldedSpace.

Obsessed with the sea, she has begun a new strand of collaborative art-science work exploring hydrokinetic engineering. Her water-based blog Hydropoetic is now online and will grow and build momentum over the next few years.

(The Ortolan is a small Eurasian songbird force-fed, drowned in cognac and eaten whole by gastronomes with large napkins over their heads.)

Lisa's previous Poems of the Month are A map of where they are and Welcome to the airlock.

 

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Ortolan © 2012 Lisa Matthews: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.