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Iona Mandal

You always wanted a blackbird
Its jetness like the monsoon sky
sunny, streamlined beak
clouds masked in its eyes
a soulful voice
evoking rains for parched lands afar

Perhaps it’s crooning
to meditate your bruised heart
its wings to set you free
its cage to fulfil your dream of maintenance
filling your soul and
deceiving you into self-belief

It rained in heaven that night
till dawn cracked open my eyes
like golden egg yolk.
Smooth sliver of sunshine
washing the room to morning birdsong
a brew of chirruping thrushes, robins and wrens

In my mind’s eye, I saw you wake
walk towards the windowsill
hallucinating a cage
Your cracked voice calling aloud
for the blackbird you yearned for

The blackbird flapped its wings hard
and onto the cage it flew in
setting you free.


Read all of issue 16