My bird bones were frail and thin. If you’d been listening more intently, you’d have heard them whisper and crack whenever you touched me with your weathered and gentle man hands. Human hands with knuckles and nails and a faded tattoo of an indiscernible shape which held no particular significance to you. I knew this because I asked you once, instead of asking the questions I really wanted the answers to. Even your pinky finger was more strong and sturdy than the little bones I had in my chest, placed there by someone on purpose to protect my most vital organs from things like the weather. From the blow of the impact. From them. From you.
You liked to wake early and hear the birds singing their songs in the trees above your apartment. The trees I would have climbed to the top of as a child. I was a late sleeper. I’d heard these songs before. I was more interested in hearing your breath and the pages of your books turning slowly as I lay beside you. Your home was tastefully decorated with feathers, but only the brightest. The cleanest. The prettiest. Put on display amongst your books, your art, and you. You thought you might even like to have a bird as a pet one day, but you were so busy with work and with things you pretended were work. What if you forgot to feed it and came home one day to it hanging upside down, or on the bottom of the cage, it’s bird bones laying perfectly still. Or worse, you thought, what if you left the latch open one day and your silver cat had it’s way, or the thing with the tiny bones flew away and never found it’s way back. A new life in the city. A free bird. No longer caged in by your love. Or lack of it.
You wanted a bird of your own your entire life, but when one flew straight into your arms, you could not bring yourself to catch her. Maybe you weren’t lying when you said you liked those things with wings. But you could never fall in love with one.