Birdgirl

By Sarah Wallis


There is an ache at the turn of the season that means the gannets are leaving. All summer they’ve fed chicks on an outcrop of rock and now the gugas will fledge. Flocking in coastal skeins – they have a plan, I do not. They are moving on, I am not. It is an odd grief, for a bird that invites no sympathy; a reptilian blue-grey vision, sword-faces plunge diving icy depths, feeding frenzies follow fishing trawlers just off the beaches, so close to land, you might put out a hand and touch the devil falling, falling right out of the sky, white back tinged with sunlight, golden head, soot-dipped wingtips hurtling fishwards, then up, flying in the face of the sun, O to soar in the all-weathers with them, for in dreams who could fail to become an Icarus again, always hoping to fly but able still to swim.



Sarah Wallis is based in Scotland, UK. Recent work is at Beir Bua, The Madrigal, Wine Cellar and Spectra. A chapbook, Medusa Retold, is available from @fly_press with Quietus Makes an Eerie now available for pre orders at Dancing Girl Press and How to Love the Hat Thrower due next year from @SelcouthStation. She tweets @wordweave and you can find out more at sarahwallis.net