roosts in my ear canal. I hear his soft call,
feel the pin-prick of his claws, airy softness
of black, grey and buff feathers. He perches
on the platform at the front of my ear, launches
into my living-room, soundless flight.
He glides, wings wide. I feel the small breath
of his passing on my face. He lands
on my outstretched palm. I close my fist,
feel the crunch as air-filled bones crumble,
tiny beak a splinter in the pad of my index finger.
I open my hand, brush the dust and fragments
into my bin, the smear of gold from his crushed eyes.
He is mine. I can do what I want; so small,
no-one will ever miss him.

Liz Byrne grew up in Dublin and now lives near Manchester, on the edge of the West Pennine Moors. She worked as a Clinical Psychologist for the NHS until her retirement. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Poetry Prize, 2019 and won the Best Landscape Poem, Ginkgo Prize, 2020. Her poetry appears in The Curlew, Obsessed with Pipework, Orbis, Agenda, Butcher’s Dog, Crannog and The North.