Charlotte Derrick is an emerging prose writer/poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was the winner of Spread the Word's Life Writing Prize 2019 and shortlisted for the V.S Pritchett short story prize. Her work has been featured in The Honest Ulsterman, The Open Ear, Wards Lit, The Esthetic Apostle, Flash Fiction Magazine, Beyond Words, and Coming Out.
the pigeon man
i’d see him every morning on the way to work,
no sooner than 10:03 and no later than 10:05
standing there in his boxer shorts and grubby
undervest throwing bird seed to the flocks
perched on his roof.
he could differentiate each blue-grey blur;
he scolded frederick for eating too much,
berated demitry for eating too little,
and praised dionysus for eating just right.
they were the best fed pigeons in belfast –
then the feedings stopped.
he’d taken a stroke during the night
and was buried in balmoral beside his wife,
an orthonologist who specialised
yet eager beaks still flocked to his roof,
waiting for the weathered hand to deliver their seed.
when the hand never came, their numbers dwindled
till only a loyal few were left, pecking
at grit and dust.