From the high window ledge of the house next door,
he looks down into our kitchen.
Two days since he landed, and whether we dance
to the radio or open a newspaper,
whether we chatter about nothing or argue over
whose turn to cook, whose to dish-wash,
our routines seem to matter more because he is there.
Nightfall, the iridescence braceleting
his neck, the rings – one pink, one emerald –
on his feet grow dim. We query the compass of his
iron-tempered beak, said to catch
the magnetic register of the world, or imagine him
blown off-course, or as a spy, or taking time out
to develop the photos he snapped
on the wing, to embellish the traveller’s tales he will
regale his friends with. Is he lonely
for a family we don’t know, whose resemblance
he sees behind our window? Or maybe
there’s a message he intends for us, about the fleeting
nature of everything, the tricky business
of enjoyment and how, late or soon,
we’ll feel at a loss on glancing up to find he has flown.