Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Pheasant

by Satyapada Campbell

One day a pheasant came into the garden
scavenging under the feeders the crumbs
dropped by the native birds.
When I opened the door she returned,
with a discrete, metronomic step,
to the wood.

Days later she was back, a clump of feathers
hanging from her neck,
the pulled and puckered flesh yellowing,
her white eyelids closing sleepily.
I watched her slow pace towards the wood
and sent a thought ‘goodbye’.

Against all odds she returned again:
much thinner now but head held high,
eyes open and a dark and decent scab
across the wound.

Villagers in a plundered village bury their mutilated dead,
bind up their wounds, rig shelters inside the walls of ruined huts,
shred birch bark in the dwindling flour and live on- unseen
as brown speckled feathers among the autumn leaves.