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I was sitting at the apex
of the triangle, where
all birds, at some point,
stop to rest their wings
and I felt out of juice
like a fruit squeezed
until there was nothing but
pulp and bitterness,
thinking the only thoughts
left, residual thoughts that
neither my feet nor
my hands wanted, such as
I’m not getting paid for these
minutes I spend down here,

looking up idly
at the 15th floor window
I was expected to be,
and a nondescript bird
flew by so close
its wings missed my
left shoulder by a mere
quarter of an inch,
making me wonder if
flight teaches birds
instinct and how to see
people the way they are,
transcending the physical,
because that would explain how
the bird didn’t see me:
I wasn’t there,
only my body was,
up until I became aware
of the bird, then,
from somewhere else,
I arrived at the scene
in time for the bird to
go off tangent and
avoid impact and injury,
the way accidentally bumping
into a stranger in the elevator
requires a soft apology
either because human contact
is unnatural now,
written out of the
social formulation
for decent urban living, or
on behalf of those who couldn’t
come up with a way to rise
up buildings except
by being confined, not
through freedom, as in the sky,
as if, finally, the bird and I
feed on each other’s existence,
the truth of one presence
dictating the other,
and at that fateful moment when
the spaces between the bristles
of its feathers snagged on
the static of the fuzz
of my turquoise wool sweater,
the bird and I achieved
a balance,
a mutual acknowledgment
of our realness and
our need to realize it,
no matter how soon that
late afternoon light
would wane and how totally
that day would get swallowed
by the marching of weeks,
no matter how unlike
it and I are, no matter
how far away the homes our
respective true selves
were seeking, might be.
.

girlwithbirds
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Image source (photographer unknown)

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