The early bird catches the worm

02 June 2021, Category: poetry

CW: Very brief allusion to suicidal thoughts

The early bird catches the worm
from a chain coffee shop, is rude
and dismissive to the barista,
pecks down the wriggling body
and a double espresso before
zipping off to a day of meetings
and spreadsheets. The early bird
meets all their deadlines, demands
100 percent attendance at every meeting
they organise, no excuses, blocks off
time in a colour-coded, neat, hand-drawn
calendar that they make every Sunday
night in preparation for the week ahead.

If colleagues were asked to describe
the early bird, they would use the words
‘brusque’ or ‘serious’ or ‘difficult to get on with’.
They do not hear how fast the early bird’s
heart is beating, do not see how it swivels
it’s head all day to see what everyone else
is doing. The early bird puts in long hours,
is the first one into the office, the last
one to leave. Exhaustion always wins though,

so the early bird flies under amber
street lights, guided in the dark by instinct,
past lurid billboards and lairy groups
of men in ties, back to it’s nest,
empty, wedged in a tree branch in
the expensive part of the city. It settles
itself down into the twigs and newspaper
shavings and tries to block out all
the emptiness around it, wonders
what would happen if it just dropped
and didn’t even try to open it’s wings
before singing itself to sleep with songs
its mother taught it long ago, on another
continent as it’s chest flutters

too fast
too loud.


If you prefer to hear me reading it out, you are in luck! Just watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLg3svcDnp0

This started as a writing exercise when you try to twist a cliche and developed into something different from there.

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