All of my birds escaped me. Brittle broken ribcage burst open, straight through flesh and set them free. I watched as the mourning doves and jays and finches flew in formation, southbound, straight toward the sea. Since I could not go with them, I stuffed my empty chest with wild flowers, weeds and poison ivy.
I’m a woman just like every other woman: a seamstress sewing myself up again after loss.
A rose thorn for a needle, long grasses for string.
Laying in the thickets with a potpourri heart, I heard a birdsong. Wounded, I saw a pigeon with wet oil wings. I tried to wrap it in the folds of my dress, but somehow it was fast-legged, ran off. So, I called for help. And he came. Chased it round and round until he caught it. Black feather peaked out from between his fingers.
And I don’t know when it was decided or even if I was the one to allow it, but I looked at him and the potpourri turned back alive, into blooming flowers and green ivy, wild weeds. The long grasses - now straw - though could not keep the hole from opening up again. It all escaped me, fell straight at his feet. A bouquet, a token of love.
When he asked if I wanted to keep the bird, care for it, I did not answer.
I just closed my hands over his, and guided them gently inside of my ribcage.