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April 22, 2024


By Lynn White


I saw him flapping around in the grass,
one wing at an improbable angle.
I chased him,
caught him,
wrapped him
in my cerise and navy school scarf.

Jack, jack, jacko.
Then it was a bus ride to the charity vet
who set the broken wing,
wrapped it
in plaster,
a heavy pot.
He was subdued on the bus home,
but still managed to greet my mother,

Jack, jack, jacko.

He perked up later after tea
and explored the living room
placing bits of straw artistically
and decorating them with pooh.
Which was why
he had to live
at school,
only for weekends.

Jack, jack, jacko!

But he enjoyed bus journeys now
and greeted all the passengers,
hopping from shoulder to shoulder,
waking them up with a wang from his pot,
nibbling an ear here and a nostril there.
Most were
but some
were not.
He was close to becoming
the only jackdaw to be banned
from public transport.

Jack, jack, jacko!!

And then disaster!
the wing had not healed.
There was decay
and gangrene
and the trimming
of his lovely long feathers
to balance him.
No more hopping
from shoulder to shoulder,
well, maybe later
with practice!
But no more
prospects of a wild life
for Jacko

Jack, jack, jacko ...

And no more home with me
said my mum as the school holidays
loomed threateningly.
Jack, jack, jacko .....

But nearby the vet,
a budgie had died
and its owner,
had a need and
it was love at first sight
for both her and Jacko.

Jack, jack, jacko!!

There were photos
in the press.
He was famous!
A local hero!

Jack, jack, jacko!!!

First published in Scarlet Leaf Review, May 2016

Article © Lynn White. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-04-29
Image(s) are public domain.
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