Gregory Kearns

Gregory Kearns

The Weighing

Blood halos the head of a gull
on the pavement – feathered
neck plump and muscled – a breath
caught in the throat – Twilight

has all the best words – gloaming –
crepuscular but the dawn is light
on words – To say this bird was aurorean
loses the way the sun cups the body

as if there was still life in the body
as if this was a still life of the body
– The metal of the spade scrapes
along the pavement – I knock

its head through the blood
that’s coagulated – it’s weight
awkward to balance – Usually a mindless
task for oneself – to balance the weight

of our own body – I devise
more inventive ways to place
the gull in a black sack
– it’s makeshift coffin – It’s too much

to wait all day to find
a proper place to bury it
– so I give it the only
funeral I can think of and place it

discreetly down the side
of the work bins – doing my best
to not feel its skin through the bag –
I hear its bones or whatever makes

it heavy – bounce off the metal sides
as it slides down to the bottom –
All those who are buried must
unother themselves from the dark –

Louder than the gravestones breaking
and the bones reassembling their flesh
is the question that come with resurrection
the loud cawing judgement –

A bird’s corpse rising from the rubbish
ragged wings stretching – the beak
tussling – slipping everyday litter
from around its mouth – I take a jug

of boiling hot water to unstain
the pavement – I don’t say a prayer
or sing a hymn – I take a second
jug to make sure the last of the blood

is washed away – then the gull’s
whole known life is on my lips
– Last night I woke up before
my alarm – my mouth

a down-pillow – I spat feathers
out one at a time until I had
a whole flock – each feather
so light a soul could not be weighed

against it

GREGORY KEARNS is a writer based in Liverpool. He has been published in Introduction X: The Poetry Business Book of New Poets and has worked on projects with No Dice Collective.