on the grey roof below my window
youthful seagull flaps and crows
harassing a bored parent
who turns with an irritated shrug of her wing
as if from a stranger
fledgling follows, begging
persisting in his ruthless lament
threatening, ready to peck
but each time he approaches she backs away
I watch the dippy dappy flapping dance
and my imagination prompts me to translate:
“mum, I’m huuungry. pleease feeed me…
“What’s in your craw? I’m hungry.
“I’M HUNGRY! FEED ME.
“I’M HUNGRY! DON’T IGNORE ME.
“I’ll RIP YOUR THROAT OPEN IF YOU DON’T FEED ME.
“COME BACK HERE. FEED ME.
“OPEN YOUR BEAK IMMEDIATELY.”
“POOR ME. CAW! ME! CAW CAW CAW”
Mum’s been silent, but she’s had enough.
She opens her beak and she screeches
high pitched, as if in grief
then opening her wings she lifts from the roof
and flies away.
baby struts, his webbed feet flapping angrily
his brindled feathers fluffing like
cotton exploding from a pod.
he struts, he fluffs, he flaps, he crows,
he struts and fluffs then craps and flows
flying, lifting, wings batting, beating, then stilling
as he slides the slipstream
looking for his dinner
on the ground
two sisters quarrel like seagulls
one stomps off
the other follows, growling
“Wait for me.”
©Jane Paterson Basil