Maurice Riordan

The Cuckoo Clock

for Michael Donaghy, 1954-2004 Parking near St Pancras long before light, it wouldn’t spook if you peered from a shop front or popped from a grille — remembering the night we arranged a rendezvous at the Elephant, you like a meerkat in-and-out of the subways on the traffic island, head cocked but hesitant when I


emerge from the orchard. There now Aunt Kit says, pouring us lemonade. It’ll be another scorcher. The bronze birds drop wing, shake caruncle and snood engorged with purple blood, and rattle in full barding. My prize cock’s gone lame! He lifts each ringed foot singly, slowly — to shoot the short film frame by frame.