Volunteers have stuck plastic versions to the rocks;
their stocky build and large flat beaks are true to life;
fifty convincing black caps, pale puffed-up cheeks,
hollow white bellies above orange glued feet.
Sea parrots hear their own call from the island,
blasted from a solar-powered sound system, dragged
ashore by men in matching polo-shirts. This cut off
land will keep the auk pairs safe. No predators here
an expert tells the camera. No lurking vermin;
no rats or ferrets, no foxes to feed on baby pufflings,
and look! A flap of short black wing to prove
they’re coming in to nest on our rocky crevices.
The tourist boat, fed up with fuel costs and empty
seats has stopped running after eighty years. Perhaps
these faithful birds will stay long enough to shed
the colour from their bills; reveal their duller selves.
It is not okay to grab me in the narrow hall,
or press my back against the chipped vinyl
to shove your dripping tongue into my mouth.
Don’t mix talk of cheese, forgotten in the fridge,
with whispered insults, each veined with mould,
or sigh and hiss, insist it is your right or mine.
Yes, cloth covers but black and white cannot blot
out red – bruises blush pink on thinned wrists.
Serpents twist, convince with their forked-tongues
promising nothing but poison. I will suck it
from every inflicted wound, by-pass your face
to spit the venom on the waste ground, walk on.