I’m the slowest smoker
that I know of. I’ve watched
a squirrel eat a groundnut from shell
to nut, three pigeons bob their heads
and chase patches of sun on a cobblestone
pathway around me. I wonder if
the sparrow flaps its wings faster than
the speed of light. There’s a black pigeon
—-charcoal and burnt sawdust—-
with a teal green neck, a spotted bird with
a yellow beak, whose name I don’t know.
A dog stops to gawk at tulips
and two more squirrels play
a game of catch-and-cook. Sunlight
is determined to draw new markings
on the basketball court. The sycamore
trees are so bountiful that I miss them.
A red bird, its colours flaming
like fresh paint on canvas,
is stealing glimpses of me. It has feathers
as bright as the burn of my cigarette
and there’s light drizzle,
the clouds taking time to empty themselves.
My heart is an oak tree
It’s big and branching,
it must be a hundred
years old. Or my heart
is a wine barrel.
I’ve had much to drink.
There are flowers growing,
facing the mud and soil.
Blooming is a small, sad thing.
Meanwhile, the birdsong
is more melodious.
Then bad things happen
alongside good things
like crying and breaking
into laughter. Funny things
happen too like I ate lemon seeds
after reading a poem, or I saw
a squirrel nibble on an acorn
and imitated it. I wonder
about vegetables, how they
soften when they’re spoilt
and that we cook them on low
flame to soften them.
These matters of the heart
must be left to take their course,
that is if my heart is an oak tree
or I’ve just had much to drink.