A Chalk Zoo

I draw a pig, a bird, a cat.
He sketches an aardvark,
a dinosaur, a platypus.

You clap, leap, dance on these
at our instruction.
When we obey your tasks
you complain
when we dance quietly,
want our bodies to shout
like yours.

You have given it all
and with dusk fall
your retreat for a bath
and tale about Mama Bear.

I visualise the paving
filled with purple giraffes,
orange penguins
and turquoise moles.

I cancel plans, to sketch a zoo,
on our suburban avenue.

I sear Saharan camels on to
this Chorlton pavement
savannahs and jungles
grow from my chalked movements.
I bask green in rainforests
and snorkel in the only Coral Reef
in South Manchester.

A murmuration of starlings,
a wilderness of monkeys,
a sounder of wild boar,
a parliament of owls.

All intricate in imagination
ready to be realised

When I shake the packet
one small stub of white chalk
bowls forth.

I had grand plans.
Instead I draw you a smile,
a kiss,
a daffodil you dismiss
as messy,
and a shrew holding a heart
holding your name.

You are delighted
as if the road
was filled with feathers and snouts,
with talons, scales, dinosaur’s jaws
and the scent of evolution.
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