Ella Jeffery


I love it when a pigeon or ibis

or some other bird

nobody wants to photograph or save

from extinction

walks into a shop

and instead of instantly realising

that it can’t afford anything,

it continues to pace forward,

which is especially good in pigeons,

whose oil-rainbowed necks are thick

and flexible, as if custom-made

for browsing.


I think if teenagers

behind the counters didn’t get so excited

and chase them away,

the birds might enjoy an hour or two

among the clothes racks,

or smelling the life-giving smell

of fresh sandwiches.

One of the best moments

of my life

occurred yesterday morning

at my favourite

bakery, when I met the gold eyes

of the pigeon who was standing on the counter

above the meat pies,

tilting her head to ask what I would like.


Ella Jeffery’s poetry, essays and reviews have appeared in Meanjin, Westerly, Cordite, Best Australian Poems and elsewhere. In 2017 she won the Meniscus CAL Award for Best Poetry, the June Shenfield Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Val Vallis Award for Poetry. She lives in Brisbane.

%d bloggers like this: