The Migratory Patterns of Birds

Location

 

There were

a million thousand hundred shadow birds that

perched across a single tree on the far side of a

silent muddled winter-freeze lake.

 

Black feathered wings scraped across

fields of grass in frozen hibernation;

a great blanket of navy blue and

black beaked undertones.

 

My boots crunched against

frosted fallen feather leaves and my

fumbling steps and frozen fingers furled

against the November chill.

 

We perched like shadow birds

atop the hood of your dad’s old

coveted red car that was in

fairly bad shape, but still

got the job done,

and wet the taste of pride in our mouths.

 

My brother – your brother, I suppose, slept in

the back seat and

pretended that the ground was not so cold outside

and we were still as close and thin as lake water and its

layer of frozen ice.

 

Your brother – my brother, I suppose – sat below us

against the hood

between our feet and pretended that

he was a part of something as close and thick as

thrumming blood that whooshed and pulled through

millions of huddled-close birds.

 

Our parents, your dad and my mom,

and not the other way around,

stood with expectation and calculated

awe and fooled us with their

perfect balance of distance and affinity and

let the blood thin just enough to keep the

separation real.

 

It felt right, somehow, not tradition but

something new and raw that I’ve

only just come to comprehend now,

with age and loss.

 

We were possibly a family, all cuddled and

waiting for something to happen, but

enjoying the wait

more than the event.

 

And while now I’ve come to see that

people change and years pass, and that

we made a funny picture of a pseudo-family

I will still remember, fondly

 

The morning I spent sitting Indian style atop

your father’s car and the

picture of our parents holding hands against the frost

and the way

everything and everyone fell silent at the

migratory pattern of the shadow birds.

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