manifest poetry

Yesterday I found a bird skull in the garden while I was weeding.

I like the way there is a little patch of feathers on the top of it’s head, like a macabre toupee.

In one of those cases of art foreshadowing life, I wrote a poem a long while back about digging up bird skulls. It is in my book.

I really did bury some bird bodies in the garden – however, that was at my old house, so this bird skull is not one of those that I buried.

Since I wrote that poem, my cat died of throat cancer. I didn’t bury him in the garden, though. I had him cremated. His ashes are in a little white box on the mantlepiece, wrapped with a yellow ribbon.

Here’s the poem:

Latest Project

I am curating the kills of my cat, collected

with shovel, buried together in a yard-bird cemetery

at the edge of the comfrey patch. Soil nourishment, for sure,

but mostly because I want to dig up the skulls.


A bird skull is a beautiful thing.

Mechanics of bone, small sculpture with hinge of jaw,

tiny teeth and spike of beak. When I dig them up

I might make a necklace of skulls, like an urban Kali,

goddess of change, of Your Time Is Up.


Sparrow head, blackbird beak, thrush face,

threaded on leather, fastened with wood.

More likely, I would sit them in a neat row

on a bookshelf in front of my orange Penguin classics.


Or, more inevitably, I will forget.



6 responses to “manifest poetry”

  1. Ooh, creepy! (In a cool kind of way, of course.) I also like the toupee. As soon as I saw the pic I thought of the poem. What will you do with your new creepy bird skull friend?


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