“For the Birds”

Originally published in River Teeth

Copyright (c) 2015 by Anjoli Roy

Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 9.00.09 PMBirds keep getting lost in my living room. It’s my fault, for leaving the doors open. For answering the knock of valley wind so strong it rips posters off the walls, comes pounding, shaking our wood-framed house with big fists, demanding to be let in. When they come, they’re puffed up in aerial flight, thinking they’ve found a new throughway from the construction site next door to the chicken coop on the other side of our house, only to thump-thump-thump their clavicle-breaking thump against ocean-view windows that just stand there, rude as a closed door. I have to walk carefully through the room then, when feathers pound at glass, to get the long, blue broom from the kitchen. I have to speak soft words—you’re so pretty, it’s not your fault you’re stuck, you’re safe, I’ll help you—as I ease their breath-weight bodies onto trembling bristles. We usually don’t make it outside on the first try. I watch them flap down air plants, seashells, the artwork our friends made for us: our windowpane full. It hurts, watching these feathers flail, the mess they make, but the exit is finally graceful, good, this helping, this bird whispering, this doing something right, gently, under the watchfulness of a single dark eye turned toward you that tracks you so pleadingly, so intently, to come deal with the birds again.

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