Poetry Shelf Monday Poem: Kay McKenzie Cooke’s ‘cannot believe my eyes’

cannot believe my eyes

At the inlet the resident pair

of paradise ducks

trumpet their usual dismay

at my approach;

the white-headed female’s call

a high-pitched wail of fear,

her dark-plumaged mate’s

placating response a constant offer

of reassurance

against unfounded alarm.

And seagulls strutting

like meat inspectors, folded wings

placed just so behind their backs.

The tide’s out and in the air,

the waft and weave of mud, weed,

algae and imminent rain.

*

Ahead, a young man jogs,

a small black-and-white dog

bouncing along at his heels.

An incongruous pair, him in sports gear

and the dog looking like it’d be happier

in a handbag.

Then, to my horror, the man kicks the dog.

I cannot believe my eyes. Until

it becomes clear that

without my glasses,

what I thought was a dog,

is in fact a soccer ball.

*

Nearly back home now,

I stop to take photos

of a blue, wooden garden seat,

a well-constructed wall

and on the footpath

the broken-crockery pieces

of strewn autumn leaves,

my own dark shadow

like black water

pouring out from under my feet.

Kay McKenzie Cooke

Kay McKenzie Cooke’s fourth poetry collection was published by The Cuba Press in June 2020 and is titled Upturned. She lives and writes in Ootepoti / Dunedin. 

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