Bird Dream by Angela Buck
I cannot say for sure what happened.
The bird came through the window, and you caught it with both hands, but not before dropping a wink to every man in the room.
And the window doesn’t matter much, except that it may be the only thing that saw the scene exactly, which is to say objectively, which is a very hard thing to do.
I for one could not recall the scene clearly, nor could the bird, for all his confusion, nor the men in the room—for obvious reasons.
You caught the bird in both hands, and placed him on the counter, the men still reeling, your sighing, my breathing, the solid black eyes of the bird peered out from the wild and into the room—suspicious perhaps of our small and tedious lives.
And you took him and placed him in the sink and began stroking his feathers, which were very dirty, while every man in the room offered a hand. I can’t remember what I was doing, except watching and breathing—invariably, for who could not, even under circumstances such as these.
The white of the bird set off your rising pink, I couldn’t have been the only one to notice that, and now every man in the room was combing the feathers, until the bird emerged, not unlike a young starlet on stage, from the clamshells of your hands.
And you walked to the window and every man followed behind, as the shape of the dream began to dissolve, each thankless man and his desires fell away, your scarlet design, my watching and my breathing, all slipped away, except for the bird, cleaned and combed, and exiting through the window—as if nothing had happened.
Angela Buck’s work has appeared in Juked, Western Humanities Review, Mid-American Review, Gobshite Quarterly, and anthologized in Modern Grimmoire: Contemporary Fairy Tales, Fables and Folklore. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver.
*Photo by Jenelle Ball