Two Poems by Judith Kingston

HIT AND RUN In which a pheasant demonstrates how to deal with death

I witnessed an incident on the way to work: a pheasant ineptly flapped into the road and was clipped by a white van.

The bird lost control and spun, in a flurry of feathers, its wings spread out in an awkward attempt to catch flight and reset to normal.

An oncoming car and I stopped softly in quiet accord, the only two witnesses to this grotesque yet majestic solo performance:

The Dance of the Dying Pheasant

Pirouetting across the road, the light went out behind its crazed eyes and it was done, it rested its head on the tarmac

where soon it would become an unrecognisable mush of roadkill, but in that moment he was just like any of us, fighting

death with only half a brain and nothing but feathers for a weapon.


DEEP WATER In which three nine year olds mess about on Dutch canals unsupervised and go too far out

The city is awash with green, the duck tree leaning impossibly over the curved canal, mallards turning a laconic eye towards our gangly arms pushing that bright orange dinghy into the water.

The oars splashing, pulling us further and further, the nesting bridges singing us on, while in the distance grows a throbbing terror of maybe having crossed the ultimate reach and not being strong enough to get back home.

Together we were fiercer, wilder, bolder and more foolish than we could ever be alone, silently pushing our stories beyond the pale into romantic fantasies, each determined not to blush.

We float under the wrong bridge, straying into the shipping lane, just three slightly sunburnt girls, mostly leg, nothing but air to hold us up.

The ear-splitting air horn warns of a death that is just a distant joke, an adult myth. We push each other on, too bold to say: I am afraid. Please stop.


Judith Kingston is a Dutch writer living in the UK. Her poetry has been published in Fly on the Wall Press anthology "Persona non Grata" as well as a number of online magazines and is set to appear in Riggwelter and Piccaroon magazines in May 2019. Her work has also been performed in Off West End immersive theatre productions. Judith's other talents include drawing windmills and rearranging the washing up so it looks as if there is less of it.

Photography by P. M. Kroonenberg

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