Image by Petr Kovar

The points of the kite tilt to the ground
Turn and turn, air supports and then
Allows a collapse before collecting
Up the wings and fragile framework, again.
Tethered, it must land, it must return
We watch, a small crowd
Smoking cadged fags, mouths full of cheap cider
Swigged back, heads tipped up,
Eyes narrowed, watching a sky the colour of washing up water
The clouds like dirty suds
He took her hand
Not mine, with bitten nails
and said, “Want a go?”
She put on the leather glove
He whistled a high-pitched command
Flicking the limp body of a chick, greasy yellow with death
Not Easter fluffy
Over her fist.  Overhead
The kite circles as if considering
Whether or not to make a run for it
I would if I had wings
I wouldn’t hang around here, watching
Him nuzzle her neck
Giggle giggle giggle as the huge bird
Bolts in wings folding claws extended landing on her gloved fist with a
The sound of feathers rustling like a newspaper shook out to be read

He puts it back
On a perch in a box in his van. Its eyes covered with a fancy hood
She sits up front with him, his hand on her pale leg
The rest of us
Cram in
Around the boxed bird
For the drive back home
“I know someone with a gun,”
I say
No one answers, but close their eyes and doze over
The bumps in the road
“He’s old enough to be my dad,” she said earlier
When I asked if she fancied him.
“Yes,” I said, “I s’pose so.”


Heidi James‘s novel Wounding will be published by Bluemoose Books in 2014. Her novella The Mesmerist’s Daughter (published by Apis Books) was launched in July 2007. Her novel Carbon, was published by Blatt in October 2009.  Carbon is currently being made into a film by British film company, Institute For Eyes. Her essays and short stories have appeared in various publications and anthologies including Dazed And Confused, Next Level, Flux, Brand, The Independent, Undercurrent, 3:AM London, New York, Paris, Dreams That Money Can Buy, Full Moon Empty Sports Bag, and She has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature.

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