Little Bird

Little Bird

We walked down the road, to the bottle store or some such place, I can’t remember, anyway, there was a plastic packet with blood in it.

I thought it was a small bird

How cruel

Little tiny feathered body, it flew straight into the packet

And then strangled itself trying to escape

Plastic closing in and little talons and beak ripping itself up instead of the packet.

I’ve been sitting on the stairs outside the house watching that little bird mummify itself for months

At first I watched from my bedroom through shifted curtains on the second floor

I wanted to be closer to it

I moved to the lounge so that I could sit on the couch and spend my hours in comfort

Still the brick and glass and wooden frames separating us was too much

And now I’ve sunk into the concrete (you hang your shopping bags on me while you’re looking for the keys)

Blinking became a weakness

I leveraged my eyelids with toothpicks in case I missed something

Eventually I taught myself not to need sleep – only a few seconds every minute – but at some point every day the world slanted into obseletion and the toothpicks snapped and when the lights came back on

The bird wasn’t there

But come morning you were back, and it was the same every morning

  1. hop along the street on twig legs
  2. fly into the big tree that stretches over the house
  3. jump down onto pavement
  4. inspect packet with twitching head
  5. lie on belly and crawl into plastic wrapping

you can never get out while I watch

I spend every day and night sweating on the stairs as December tiptoed around me

Clawing at the pavement while sleep hooks itself at my navel and pulls

And then one day sleep didn’t come and I saw it

I saw a little bird that could have been you

You had never been struggling, never been strangled by bad decisions

You were redecorating

Tiny little tv set and blue lounge suite arranged neatly inside the tiny little house in that plastic wrapping

And I felt so foolish.

After that you didn’t come back

I waited for a week, two weeks

I’m superstitious so I didn’t wait for the third

Instead I went home for the first time in months and lay in bed, remembering how to close my eyes

There was nothing left to say that anything remarkable had happened on that pavement

Except for me

Sharpening burnt wood to carve your likeness from memory


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