The Jackdaw, Married

by Mathew Joiner

You'll most likely find him on broken ground:
a discerning collector, though his treasures 
seem suspect. Crumbs of glass — mirrored, stained —
snag his ice-grey eye like a kaleidoscope.
With clever fingers he slips them away
to star the dark skies of his pockets.
He gifts his wife with tinfoil-twists, bright
as the dowry of buckled bottle caps lying
unspent on the nightstand. Rusty-voiced 
as they are (neighbours call them "a clattering",
claim their songs bring rain), they make
a handsome pair: small and neat and Sunday-black
in coats and hair, silver-softened at the nape.
Don't mistake theirs for a sombre house:
it's brimful of filched hues, well-regarded mirrors,
soon to be raucous with fledgeling thieves.
They'll be wed the life-long day;
but never ask where the ring came from.

Mathew Joiner lives in the English Midlands, so likes Brutalism and industrial decay almost as much as he does Green Men and Pierrots. His poetry and fiction have appeared in the likes of Strange Horizons, Not One Of Us, Through The Gate and Never Again. His favourite fruit is the blackberry picked from the hedge in September, but he drinks cherry tea like a pro.

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