Talking to the Dodo
I do know that you died, you and
all of your kind, a long time ago.
But I want to have this conversation
and the living don’t have the patience.
You know what it’s like to fall
into a lake of tears, to think you will
never reach dry land again, never
unruffle your bedraggled feathers.
My whole life has become a caucus race,
with no beginning and no end,
no rules, and no winners, only losers.
What I want to ask you, Dodo, is why
did you simply drop out of the story?
I’m afraid the same fate awaits me.
Granted you made a bit of a mark,
but it’s crumbling now, dust in the wind,
with all the other forgotten creatures
who didn’t give a thought to legacies
or heritage, or what people thought of them.
Who remembers your beautiful plumage now?
All we know is your extinction.
After all, you couldn’t even fly!
I’m not a flyer myself, the more I try
to take off into the blue empyrean,
the more I am grounded on this sad earth,
my colours fading, my voice moving
further off into the mute distance.
What undoes me is that when I am gone
no-one will rail against the unfairness
of it all, no-one will complain.
No-one will write me into a story,
even if only to drop me out of it again.
I won’t even be a wail on the wind.
Rosemary McLeish is a poet, published widely in journals and anthologies. She won second prize in the MsLexia competition 2018 and the Bedford International Competition 2019. Her collections “I am a field” and “Defragmentation” are published by Wordsmithery. Further details can be found on her website, www.rosemarymcleish.co.uk.