Song thrush in my hedgerow, looking for a treat. Cold, dry day, unburnished by the sun. Exhale small white puffs of air from my poisoned lungs; I smoke to die a little faster.
I am jobless. Looming over me is an enormous student debt. The date of my viva has yet to be confirmed. My mother-in-law has the shingles. My friend's friend is gravely ill, stricken by the Zika virus, contracted from a mosquito on a holiday in Florida. She lost her sight, then her speech, and finally her consciousness in less than a month. One reads the news (a fascist at the helm of the 5th largest country in the world!) with a sense of what W.B. Yeats called "the widening gyre", oft-quoted but apt nonetheless:
Turning & turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world
Meanwhile, I read book after book. I help out in the pub. I volunteer. I attend plays. I write every day, filling the void with half-thoughts, childish observations, and ungainly sentences. I make plans to see friends in distant places, with no expectations that things will go right. I walk with my friend, whose friend is dying, and her two Maltese pups during the day. At night I walk again, treating every animal I meet as an omen. I feed the birds to remind myself of small creatures everywhere, searching for food in a thoughtless quest to prolong their present.
The future is not a dream for them. What an animal is, is; even as the gyre widens.