i held a bird between my hands,
swallow's throat twitching in laryngeal spasms.
when i whispered gently,
lips millimeters from its ear,
'you are mine; there is nothing you can do'
it struggled, beak clicking like talon-fingernails on porcelain
i didn't mean to let it free, i swear.
it beat me back with a single shining look;
beaded gaze bruising, breaking capillaries and
bringing blood to the surface.
i would have gotten a black eye if i wasn't careful.
careful, i mean. i was never careful.
with mirrored eyes i watched it fly,
wings beating in time to my heart.
my breath was a cloud of smoke,
droplets condensing in the air and
mingling with fog and foreign substances
and atmospheric debris from the
most recent vehicular excursions
it was a white day, with a white sky and
a lake of milk. i drank all of it,
particles of protein splashing onto my sunglasses.
and then i was alone:
no bird and no lake,
just an empty heart
and a stomach full of regrets and butterflies
i still wonder, sweet swallow,
if it was right to let you go.
i suppose i'll never know now, shall i?