This Corpse is Full of Birds
The first was a fledgling, a Jacky Winter launched from the nest on new-found wings to snatch at an insect. His sole flight was a faltering plummet, yet it filled me with envy.
So I scooped him up, and swallowed him whole.
He sang his dissent all the way down, but his claws were tiny, his beak but a stub. His peeping breath tasted of spiders and sap. And then he was down, ensconced inside me, a kernel of sky to warm my heart.
I got a taste for it.
One by one I caught them, these creatures of flight and fancy. The hopping house sparrows; the swooping magpie; the diving butcher bird; the wattlebird who went down with an angry "chok-chok-chok!" Their talons scored my throat, but their feathers soothed the wounds and their song, dawn lullabies and midnight carols, bubbled up like a balm.
Now I'm filled with freedom — which is just feathered frustration.
With every bird I drink it down and my skin grows tauter, straining at the seams with their jostling. They sing inside me of horizons; of yearning; of racing hearts rupturing. They bring me the sky — and it's a vast and bursting thing.