Children grow in secret. They hide themselves in the depths and darker reaches of the house to become wild cats, white birches.
One day when you’re only half-watching the herd as it straggles back in with the afternoon dust, one child, the prettiest of them all, comes close and rises up on tiptoe to whisper I love you, I’ll be waiting for you in the hay.
Shaking some, you go to find your shotgun; you spend what’s left of the day firing at rooks and jackdaws, uncountable at this hour, and crows.
Source: Poetry (June 2011).