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By Victoria Richards

There’s a bird inside my chest. I can feel it there, scrabbling around with its dirty talons, squashed between my ribs. It was quiet, for a while, lulled into slumber by my soft hipped mother-swing, like she was, like he was. Tiny, pink, wobbling like jelly. But now it’s awake and it wants to get out. It is rough, cawing thick, black feathers, muscle-wing-span-bone. It aches to fight and fuck and tear and stretch, to peck at discarded sweet wrappers, an old Big Mac, curled brown at the edges; at chewing gum and shit and London’s wet street sorrow. It claws at my heart, which thuds irregularly

thump THUMP thump-thump, thump THUMP

It is magnificent — and it is driven mad with wanting. It stretches its wings, soars up, up and out of my mouth in one coruscating blood-guts rush of resentment. Yes, yes! It is a war cry. It flies.

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