Your poems are standoffish, he says.
You put fences around them to keep
‘Trespassers Prosecuted’ signs to keep
Your poems secure,
Guard dogs patrolling the perimeter
Snarly with menace.
Call off the dogs, he says
Open up your poems.
What are you afraid of?
People got to walk around.
Let the sunshine in.
You’re supposed to listen to your writing coach, right?
Okay, okay, I say
As I take down the tall palings
One by one.
Put up a Welcome sign.
It’s a little scary for me too.
Only when I noticed
The rusty red rat rubbing its rump
Against the end of the bed
Did I cut down on
The painkillers; though the pterodactyl
With the one jaundiced eye
thrashing its wings
Against the latticed windows didn’t
Help much either.
They came at me when I was at my most vulnerable.
I had just got up
And gone outside to pee
and was crunching on a few cheese crackers.
“Give us yer loot!” the big one intimated
With hard, implacable eyes,
Big bony dagger drawn.
So I did
Throwing the crackers at them.
They grabbed it in their beaks and flew off
Black cloaks drawn around them
Into the big blue sky.
He was getting too familiar, planting himself on the chair next to us without being asked. But it didn’t seem to bother her. If anything she was amused.
“Make yourself at home, why don’t you?” I sneered.
But he just ignored me, fixing us with his stony stare, as if he were waiting for something and we were to provide it.
Then she went indoors and the inevitable happened.
He got up and followed.
“Hey!” I called out, “Hey!”
But he went in anyway, asserting his territory. Then pandemonium broke loose.
She panicked and he panicked, blindly bumping against doors and windows. Finally he found his way out through the open door.
“Okay,” she said. “Okay. I won’t feed Scruffy anymore.”
Scruffy was a big, beefy Murray magpie with a sense of entitlement.