Birdsong

It was in the mornings that he noticed the grating sound: a dull scraping in inky water… cheese wire on flaking lead… blunt fingernail across dry bone…

Even his shadow rubbed awkwardly against his body and the smell of burning became more noticeable. Just when he thought he could bear the poisonous perfume no more the air filled with a more familiar smell but he could not place it just now…

He fell into the easy chair gazing at his reflection that appeared held together by unseen pins and sticking plaster. He had seen better days… like the chair that he now sank restlessly into… and clutched protectively: a dead child he tried to forget… the first kiss… the siren-song…

When he thought about her, chained to the old trapeze, a tear found its way down the invisible staircase of his thoughts. Down, spiraling into the cage, down, through the rusting bars; and down, still further, to her tiny face, staring up at him accusingly — the shape of a swollen question mark…

As he allowed himself to cry he knew it would begin again: first, the ritual itching and dull ache; and then, the terrible scent of imprisonment, of love.

There, just below his left rib — or rather — through the portcullis of his ribcage: she sat. Her screams were barely audible in the greedy fire that licked at her battered body, her arms pulling at the skeletal trapeze, desperately trying to attract his attention…

Finally, he removed the wax, then, he worked on the layers of clothes, muffling her cries: the grey jacket, the black tie with a faded pattern, the white shirt. He dared to unveil this eternal sideshow, transfixed — as always — by her beauty, which he never failed to appreciate, never failed to worship – despite the trellis of scars and weeping wounds in her nightly desolation; and in that moment he remembered everything but could never blame himself. Not him! It wasn’t his doing. He needed her. She needed him.

Mechanically, he stopped up his ears, making a concerted effort to control his breathing once more and put the weeping form back in her palace, his tear-stained garments creating a scant shelter for her. As he turned, making for the door, his only awareness was of the birdsong which penetrated him with a music so beautiful and profound he forgot his troubles in an instant.

Darren Thomas

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~ by londonsurrealistgroup on September 19, 2006.

 
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