what plums and i have in common

what plums and i have in common

i wait patiently below the plum tree

which is tucked in a nook of the backyard beside the picket fence

plump purples reds and blues hang above me

drooping and dipping branches

 

i draw my hand up up until fingertips reach an underside

purple plum, shining skin catching august sun beams

i pull down, the plum tree echoes and

her branches spring up with life like elasticity, she breathes

 

so i sit, the round fruit rests in my palm, a microcosm

blossoming life

the plum dances on my skin, whirling mauve

hues of mulberry dazzle half opened eyes

I grow sleep under the sun

 

my thumbnail tears into the flesh

opening up to reveal glistening orange

delicate veins thread through soft insides, this we have in common

a bulging seed sits quietly at the center

jutting out and begging for attention

 

i look to the bouquet of these purple plums and leaves resting above me

and i am brought back to summers ago, where my grandmother and i

watched from the kitchen window

three deer gathered around the base of our tree with white tails bobbing

plums sat nestled in patchy grass

fallen from grace, the branches of a fruitful tree

and they were eaten up whole

 

a seed sits in the stomach and will soon return to the earth

where another plum tree will blossom, another will grow

 

a seed sits buried underneath skin and flesh and blood

I run my gently yet cruelly over the plum’s pit, brownish oval

taking note of each bend and fold

a seed sits, building up it’s sweet surrounding

a wonderful sight and sugary on your tongue

i do this too

so that others will eat me up

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Boy & Beast

Boy & Beast

Hi all! This is a short poem titled Boy and Beast; content wise it strays from my other writing, but this was inspired by a little bit of ekphrasis. Enjoy! 

 

Golden shades of blue great each other, the beast’s scales tangled in the light, sun speckled

A heavy robe draped over the boy, much too large for his frail body, it cannot belong to him

The beast’s tail coils and contorts

Bare feet, without claws, without scales or armor, not broken but breakable

Where did he leave his shoes?

The ground no longer moved, no longer echoed and errupted beneath the two

The beast’s eyelids fluttered, magnificent dappled purple and azure, defeated eyes shut

There is lingering dread painted on the boy’s irises which meet with the beast’s sunken chest

It rose

His heart still thumping, still pumping, still beating

 

A boy with dirt stained teeth and cheeks, nose and throat

King of the sky lay bleeding in a low place

The two were now more alike than they were different

The boy knew this well

Sweet smelling smoke hung in the air, pouring of out the beast’s nostrils, it did not seem to stop

But it was not sweet, it was the smell of death

The sound of an ancient body ascending and dematerializing

Where a beast had once stood, once sailed through sunsets of gold and blood

Skies of blue

 

Time must persist, the sun sunk into the valley radiating shades of mourning

Melancholy rolled over the young boy, pouring over him like the folds of his robe

Golden shades of blue great each other, the beast’s scales tangled in the light, star speckled

Table for Two

Table for Two

Hi everyone! I would like to apologize for my lack of activity positing recently! Senior year is in full swing, this means minimal time for writing! Hopefully I’ll be able to post more once things get a little less chaotic, enjoy! 

I am sitting alone at a table for two. Directly across from me is a dining booth, clad in red worn down leather. I am picturing the man who will occupy this empty space; I find myself doing this often. He tells me in a cloudy accent that he’s an architect and he orders a $1.75 Cafe Americano. He has the voice of a lover, this I notice. The stiff white collared shirt he wears clashes with his gentle features, doe like brown eyes and a rounded nose. I want to touch his hand, it’s resting on the table, pinning down the paper menu. I will tell my mother about this man, he will give me purpose. He will have the hands of an architect, knuckles carefully thought out and placed with intention. Almost as if they had corresponding blueprints laying around his office. He will hang my high school portraits in his office and polaroids of us vacationing in Ibiza and Mallorca. There are no bumbling or hanging silences. Our conversations are the most riveting; which in my opinion is a wonderful sign for our first encounter. Possibly my soulmate.

I tell him about what we were taught in my philosophy class last semester. How before the earth was all cement and billboards, it was speckled in flowers and light. Humans had a single head with two painted faces. Four arms and four legs too. That given detail will make him laugh. One storm ridden day, Zeus had become enraged and maddened with human’s self pride and arrogance. As I mention these words, his eyes will soften, because he knows far too well what I am referring to, the monstrosity of man. As punishment, Zeus threw down his lightning rod, piercing the Earth and it’s every occupant, splitting the humans in two. Two arms and two legs, one face too. Humans would have to spend their entireties searching for their other half. He will then tell me that what he’s feeling deep down in his stomach makes sense to him now; this makes my smile beam and my cheeks blush. His breath does not have the strong undertone of gin and he does not slip a single profanity. We would make a great couple.

His name will be plain and simple to remember, something like John or James. James tells me that I have beautiful teeth and girls who look like me shouldn’t smoke. That’s exactly what my mother told me to look for in a lover, someone who sees the stars in my eyes and the poetry written on my skin. I cannot wait to tell her about James, I imagine myself gushing to her over the phone, words pouring out like water from the grand rapids. I make a mental note that we will have to visit Grand Rapids Michigan, bring the kids with us. He then will ask me if I’d like a milkshake, but I say no because I’m watching my figure. I need to be, after all, how can I expect to fit into one of those lace wedding gowns? I can picture myself sitting with James for hours, discussing the balcony he will build me, how our sons will play football just like he did. He is a true gentleman.

I am suddenly brought back. The red of the empty seat across from me is now stinging my eyes. I tap my nails nervously atop the white laminate table top, creating nonsensical and frenzied rhythms. People come and go, laughter echoes through the diner and halts at my table. A nice looking waitress with a plump smile asks me if I am ready to order, I tell her I am still waiting on someone. She gives me a nod and walks away, grasping tightly to a metal tray. I am sitting alone at a table for two.

an excerpt from: Hangman

an excerpt from: Hangman

Wow — it’s been awhile since my last post! I apologize for the lack of uploads the past few months, senior year has been super busy with sports, college applications and schoolwork! Here’s an excerpt from a (hopeful) short story I’ve been working on titled Hangman. Enjoy!

….

Only on Thursday afternoons Ezra and I were told we could not take the main road home. The main road being through downtown. Instead we would twist around corners and unfamiliar roads, though they were now becoming common to us. This added around ten extra minutes to our walk home, Ezra once timed it with dad’s leather wristwatch. The leather was sort of worn down and the ticks didn’t tick like they used to, but it earned our easily given trust. As my mother caressed my unruly and dark hair into two braids, she continued to remind me, a soft whisper that hung onto my ear, followed by an I love you. This was the case this morning, and yesterday, and the day before and the day before that. Thursday, October the eighth, a date remained imprinted in ink on the calendar hung onto the refrigerator. It was a grey morning, the clouds were charcoal and the sky was concrete. Nothing out of the ordinary, a bleak morning in a bleak city teeming with bleak people. Our front door still had that scuff on it and still moaned a twisted creaky noise when swung open. A strange sensation  consumed the air this morning. My stomach was static. Our usual walks to school were crowded with laughter and small discussion about trivial, meaningless matters. I didn’t say much today. Neither did Ezra, but I could tell he felt it too, the static groan buried down below our throats.

Six or seven hours or however many taps on the analog clock surpassed me along with the rest of my classmates. I contemplated visiting the nurse’s office, due to that awful feeling deep down inside of me. But I didn’t. I sort of envisioned my encounter with the nurse, a grey haired woman of fifty six. She would ask me how I felt and why I stood before her and I would certainly respond with, “Nurse Terry, there’s a black and white feeling in my stomach!” But a black and white feeling wasn’t a ticket home as lice or vomit was. Instead I spent a significant remainder of the day watching Dorothy Deacon twist at the dead ends of her brown hair and Mr. Wylie mar the board with stiff pale chalk. The words and numbers etched into my paper slipped from my finger tips and shattered on impact with the floor. Time ebbs and flows in strange ways when confined by four monotonous white walls.

The iron bell echoed through our school like an iron fist, expelling children in all directions. I waited for Ezra under the apple tree next to the empty set of swings. I could spot his shaggy black hair in the sea of auburns and blondes. He walked with his hands fixed in his pockets and his eyes beamed to his dirty sneakers below him. His freckles looked troubled, they almost looked like rain drops, his shoulders weary. “What’s wrong?” I asked, my voice fluctuated from a valley to a peak in concern.

“I don’t feel good.”

“What is it?” I proceeded, Ezra answered with a slight shrug. Without any more questions I turned on my heals and we turned right as opposed to left, it being a Thursday. For the first hundred or so steps, my hands tugged at the straps on my book bag, the weight shifted on and off, this being a sign of my boredom. Surrounding us were small shops of sorts, and apartment buildings like ours. The only shop I recognized truly was the bakery called Mary’s, I went there a couple times with mother to pick up bread and muffins. Lately we had stopped going to the named bakeries and butcher shops and opted for the convenience store down the block. Brick walls were patchy, inconsistent colored blocks concealed graffiti and paintings underneath.

It was around this time of year the trees would die. There were no leaves, no colors, only bare and broken branches. The scenery was sapped and worn down, but in a beautiful way. This is what we had been taught in school and on the television and at home. I had grown to love the normality of the trees, and the roads and streets and houses. Routine was a warm hug, so was regularity. The small bony trees that dug into the ground were a fresh breath from the concrete and cement that consumed our everyday lives. Yes they were grey, and spindly and miniscule to the oaks and pines you would see in the old movies that only aired after twelve at night. But they became us. It became an antidote to that staticy feeling.

Ezra and I disappeared off of Main Street and slipped onto Baldwin Street, it was Thursday afterall. Baldwin Street resembled Canary Way, which was alike Tucker Park, which showed similarities with Main Street. The backroads and side streets had the same grey white tone, and splotchy patches in paint and consistency in the sky. The only difference was there weren’t any stores and businesses, only homes. Fifty paces down the asphalt Ezra and I met a road block. The slab of concrete rested itself sideways on the road. Spray-painted black letters scribed on the grey read: Closed for Construction. There was nobody beyond the cinder block, only a few stray plastic bags.

I turned myself towards Ezra, who offered me a puzzled look. “What do we do now?” His voice shook just as his knees did.

“I guess we head back and take Main Street,” I spoke

“But, we aren’t supposed to go there, that’s what mom always says,” Ezra was right.

“You think I don’t know that?”

I spun around and headed back up Baldwin Street, Ezra had no choice but to follow. We again watched the same homes and small trees pass by us as our legs went on. My mind raced back and forth, I was no longer able to focus my attention to the homes, only the static. In truth, we had never questioned our mother on why exactly Main Street had become so dangerous. We never asked questions. I always assumed there was construction of some sort, and that she wanted to make sure her children weren’t struck down by a fallen brick or two. I could tell solely by the tension in Ezra’s knotted up shoulders that he did not assume the same as I did. Mother always called me her little optimist and Ezra her little pessimist.

Main Street on Thursday looked like Main Street any other day, I didn’t understand. There were no construction workers. Ezra’s expression contorted to one of discomfort once more. We still encountered the same signs, the same warnings. Reminders of urban curfews projected themselves onto the grey business buildings surrounding us. This had been enforced for always, so I didn’t quite understand why we needed the constant mention. I grew up abiding by these, so did mother, and her mother and hers, so on and so forth. Along with these, the laws were also painted on a few brick walls here and there. I didn’t quite understand those either. The static feeling became stronger. As Ezra and I made our way further down Main Street, we began to realize why our mother forbode us from taking this route.

A rather large group of people circled around the street, many held signs in their cracked hands and marched. I could almost make out the words on the signs, the words were not pretty. Before the shouting began there was a strange hum that was held in the dull air. The hum hung low and brushed against my scalp. All felt still, there was no breeze like the weatherman this morning, the one with the blonde slicked back hair and plastic smile, had predicted. Then the yelling came. The voices pouring out from the mass croaked and echoed off of the grey and brick buildings which lined Main Street. Sound waves tumbled through my ear and crashed into my temple, enough impact to cause a bruise surely. I snapped my neck to look over to Ezra, frightened freckles and shaking pant legs. I took his hand in mine, the cold feeling of my palm caused him to lurch. “We can get past if we take the sidewalks,” I said to Ezra, unsure if we actually could do so. He said nothing. I spoke once more, “Look down and stay quiet,” Ezra’s grey eyes remained focused on the concrete and his chapped lips remained shut.

Speaking in friction the government was not taken lightly. A charcoal haired boy in my English class, Harvey Daniels,  his mother had been arrested for doing so. Since he had carried luggage under his eyes and didn’t always straighten out his collar. I think it’s been around two years since Mrs. Daniels was taken off. I was scared. So was Ezra. His steps were apprehensive as we approached the crowd. I under calculated the size of the group really, we would have to slip in between the cracks and crevices of bodies to get home. They didn’t seem to notice the two schoolchildren crouched and pushing beneath them. They did not seem scared either, scared of the law and it’s upholding. Many wore bandanas, black, and strung them over their face to conceal their mouths. I can’t remember who threw the first cannister that let out that awful white smell, I really can’t. Ezra told me later that he saw a man clad in a helmet and a boxy vest, a law enforcement officer, throw the compacted metal as if he were pitching a baseball on opening day.

Our limp bodies pushed back and forth. Colliding with shoulders and elbows and bones. I could taste Ezra’s freckles. I tried to root my feet into the ground, to mimic those trees I loved, to find stability. Stability had left us. Stability was beyond us. All I saw was the movement of the color black, presumably bodies. A man next to me, as tall as a pine, crumpled and hit the ground. I could feel blood spill from my nose and my forehead. I held tight to Ezra’s sleeve. The sensation of jacket seams ripping trickled up my forearm. I don’t know how long we were in there. Dad’s leather wrist watch escaped Ezra’s bony wrist and fell to the ground. Glass shatters not only on store windows but beneath combat boots.

It was then that the horde began to expel in all directions. Much like our classmates leaving the school thirty minutes prior. There was still movement, but less concentrated. I could see the concrete below us now. My eyes were drawn to the leather wrist watch, which laid defeated on the ground. Still clutching to Ezra, I used my empty hand to grope the asphalt and extract what was left of the wristband and  broken glass, burying it in my pocket. I coughed, the white invaded my lungs and made my eyes water. A hand grabbed my shoulder, dragging us out of the crowd. My shins and knees stung as they hit the pavement, tiny black rocks buried themselves inside of me. Soon there was no commotion, only the static remained. I could see bricks out of my left eye and the sky out of my right. I was able to see blood out of both.

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 3

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 3

The conclusion of my three part short story. Thank you to everyone who has been reading! 

 

I remained awake once more when night slipped over my rooftop. It was routine almost. I guess the warbler’s presence had sharpened my senses. I began to notice the inaudible sounds, the way the winds hummed and the leaves whispered. I didn’t know what they were gabbing on about though. I was able to feel the slight twitch of my right arm spasm, and the glares held in the eyes of strangers. I could feel like thumping of my heart, pumping reds throughout me. I could feel the zeep zeep zeeps. Yes, my senses became sharper. I was able to hear the straining of Mary Bate’s cheeks when she smiled. Though, I couldn’t recall the amount of hours I had slept the past five nights. The feeling of my head, sinking unhurriedly into my blue coated pillow, was a dreadful feeling. I wish it hadn’t been to tell you the truth. My skin was now dull grey, like the feathers of the warbler. The warbler was no longer a bird; the warbler was the weight I had carried. Until now, the weight had been manageable. Today, my knees collapsed and I had hit the floor. The warbler waited for me beyond the window pane. His small unproportionate body rocking back and forth, teetering atop the flimsy branch of my being. The warbler’s eyes bore gaping holes into my face, exposing bones and soft pink flesh. I stood to my feet, the house creaked below me, groaning and wailing, and abandoned my bedroom.

 

The air was raw and depraved, gnawing at my forehead, the blades of grass stung below my bare feet. It was damn cold out. I stood beneath the birch tree in my backyard. When I was a child my father and I built a birdhouse to hang on that birch tree. It was flimsy due to the fact he had let me hammer in most of the nails, small veiny cracks branched up the wood. He kept correcting my grip on the hammer and wouldn’t let me paint it after. Three weeks later it fell apart in a windstorm.
Darkness encroached the warbler and I, staining both my skin and his feathers. My glassy and tired eyes adjusted to the blackness and I was able to make out the shadow sitting in the tree. To tell you the truth, I didn’t care if I were to wake the neighbors, if I were to disturb Mrs. Bate’s tulips. The warbler no longer controlled me. I told him that. I screamed. I screamed until my jaw felt it were to disconnect and my throat bled. The warbler grew uneasy, I saw it in his eyes. My neck strained, blood vessels popping and veins pumping. I became dizzy. The sky let out a screech, ear piercing and throbbing. It was not the sky. From under a veil of black, a lonely falcon dived into the birch tree. Yolk colored talons snatched the warbler from the branch. I did not hear the familiar zeep zeeps from the warbler, but now a feeble croak. The warbler no longer controlled me, for I was made of dark grey steel and not glass. The falcon let another cry pour out from his beak, the warbler strung from his claws, crumped and defeated, and soared into the star spotted canopy above. I swear I watched the life seep from the warblers hollow body. My shaky hand grappled with the doorknob, the cool brass burned my tired skin. My bare feet dragged up the crooked staircase and I found my bedroom door slightly opened, cool air slipped from my open window and into the hallway. Walking into my room, I closed that window for the last time, submerged myself back under my covers, a sea of blue, and fell asleep.

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 2

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 2

          I spotted the warbler again, staring through the window of my second block calculus class, concealed in the bushes. I dug lead into the parchment hard and tried to find meaning in the numbers and printed lines, but I couldn’t. The paint of my yellow number two bled onto my palms. The pencil splintered. My fingers grew stiff and my mind wandered from integrals and equations to two prying eyes that watched me from outside. I wished somebody else would notice that damn bird, I really did. The faint noise, the zeep zeep zeeps, could be heard through the thick glass. To my right sat Mary Bates, crouched over her worn down and clumsy red notebook. I liked Mary Bates. She had straight pearl teeth that were easy to talk to and the way she looped her Y’s made everything feel a tad bit better. She was also my neighbor. The Bate’s lived in a crumbly beige house surrounded by rows of tulips. I had always admired her mother, who had spent many hours of her weeks dirtying her pant legs, tending to her lovely mauve and pink painted flowers. One afternoon she had even heard my parents yelling at each other while she was in that garden. She asked Mary to check in with me, sweet lady.

 

          I reached out my shaky jaundiced fingers and lightly brushed the shoulder of her olive sweater. My touch startled her, her head snapped up from her work, hair moving wildly, curly antique couch springs. Her posture uncoiled after the realization that the tap was not from an apparition, but of a classmate. “Look outside the window,” I asked, pointing one bony finger off into oblivion.

“What is it?”

“See that bird?” As I asked, she squinted her eyes, attempting to make sense of the sooty figure, crouched amongst the earth. Mary laughed, her giggles were a flower bed.

“Well that’s odd,” she offered, balancing her pen between two gaunt fingers, “funny almost.”

“Wanna hear somethin’ even funnier?”

“Of course,” I could tell I had Mary’s attention now, surely. Her black pen fell from her fingers to her wooden desk, and she shifted her bruised knees in my direction.

“That little guy’s been following me around,” Mary’s eyebrows raised in confusion, “Past couple night’s he’s been screamin’ out at my window,” I laughed, “even followed me to school!” My words were veiled with humor, I wasn’t too keen on letting Mary Bates know how the warbler made me feel anxious and unnerved and all.

“You don’t think it could be another bird?”

“No, it’s him,” I spoke. This made Mary Bates laugh. Soon our focus on the bird wavered away and we both fell back into the humdrum of formulas and functions. It was nice to have a friend, to have something other than a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. The flecks of ivory in Mary Bates’ teeth gave me something to focus on besides the black, besides the black throated grey warbler. The seeming friendship of Mary Bates was the antidote, encased in a glass vile like in those movies, so easily shattered.

 

 

          When the clock’s calloused hands grazed 2:00, the red brick schoolhouse expelled students in all directions, spitting them out like a child would broccoli. There were many hues, dots and people in this wave, a tsunami of hair and sweaters and backpacks and commotion. This Monday mirrored any other Monday. Students itching, until their skin was left raw, to go home. The sound of heavy footprints colliding onto pavement still rung in my ears and so did the sound of popping pink bubble gum. I overheard Bobby Metz tell Charlie Woods, the quarterback, he was going to ask Sylvia Freeman to go steady with him. This is a secret I had kept and this was something that would never happen. In the crowd, I began to search for the warbler. I could tell he was watching; he was always watching. The zeeps had been drowned out by an orchestra of voices but I knew they were there, a steady metronome. I could tell, the way my palms had began to shake like an addict’s and that pit in my stomach arose once more, growing again exponentially. Exponential growth and decay, second block calculus, Mary Bates. He was always there.

          I turned onto Hanover street on the walk home. Attempting to dodge cracks and breaks in the cement, I wished not to harm my mother though at times it felt as if she wished to harm me. This was a habit I had picked up at six, compulsion clung to my shoulders like freckles would, all of my remembered life. Mary Bates was only a few paces ahead of me. With each step, her curls bounced. The warbler was nowhere in sight. I needed to get her attention, I needed Mary Bates.  I yelled. “Mary!” My voice startled her, she turned her neck, hair whirling, squinting over the shoulder of her olive sweater.

“Hey Wheeler,” her strides slowed until I caught up with her. We walked besides each other in silence for a few moments, exchanging only the sound of breaths falling and rising.

“How’d you do on that test Friday?” I asked.

“I think I did well, not my best, but well” Mary smiled, “What about yourself?”

“I wish I could say the same,” I laughed, with the laughter I felt slight weight remove itself from atop my ribcage.

“Have you seen that oddball bird again today?” I was glad Mary remembered.

“I saw him sixth block too, not since then though. He’ll turn up soon.” Mary bit at her thin pink lips in confusion.

“Why’d you say that?” Her pitch skewed itself until her voice spilled out from her chapped lips sweetly, with the consistency of honey.

“I can just tell- I feel all weird when he shows up,”

“Try scarin’ him or something, you know, frighten him. Clap your hands loud and look real big, maybe he’ll just fly away,” she giggled and her cheeks became spotted the color of the flowers occupying Mrs. Bate’s tulip garden.

“I thought that’s what you’d do if a bear came up to you,”

“It’s only an idea, Wheeler. Take it or leave it.”

“Well, Mary Bates,” I looked her in the eyes, “that is one grand idea.”

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 1

Wheeler & the Warbler: Part 1

Hello! The following is a short story I have worked tirelessly over the past few months. I will be posting this in fragments to avoid it becoming too long a post. This is also my submission for the Young Emerging Authors Fellowship from the Telling Room, very exciting opportunities are ahead. Thank you for reading 🙂 

 

          I couldn’t sleep a wink, not with that damn bird hollering outside my window. I’ll tell you I tried, I really did. He was a black-throated grey warbler by the looks of it, the way his head was cloaked in black like Hades. A pair of delicate birch white bars painted and marred his wings; he had to be a black throated grey warbler. Though, I was no bird expert, no ornithologist. Last Thursday after anatomy I found myself in my school’s library. Truthfully, four years in the crumbling red brick building and I’d never stepped foot in that place. It was a new feeling under my shoes and their soles, partly because it was some foreign and strange land and partly because the floor had slightly sunken into the earth. I didn’t mind the library, it had an odd and unfamiliar stillness. I didn’t hear anything in my head for once. No ticking, no tockings, no zeep zeep zeeps. I didn’t hear my parent’s shouts, ricocheting off our narrow hallways, the force of a .308 caliber bullet. Maybe it was all those books, acting like a sound-barrier of sorts. I couldn’t hear my father’s straining voice and red face, telling me I was not a man, but a boy. Maybe he was right. I made a mental note to pick up a book on hunting and fishing.

 

          The walls were lined with yellowed pages along with a lingering perfume of asbestos. The library showed the outside world it’s toothy grin, a mouth full of books, a crooked smile. Most of the paperbacks were scattered and knew no order; it took me close to eleven whole minutes just to find the World Encyclopedia of Birds. It’s blue spine stood out to me in spite of the surrounding chaos, almost as if it had offered out it’s lanky cobalt arms and tapped my shoulder. The spine was twisted and bent, the edges looked like they’d been gnawed off- scoliosis like. The blue book of birds sat idle on my bedside table, peeking out and watching from under a collage of used tissues, a half filled orange prescription bottle and a disheveled stack of scribbled flash cards. I never did end up finding that other book though. Zeep zeep zeep zeep.

 

            Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night, now Sunday night. That makes five. I just laid there in the dark for a moment, my sheets consumed me. Soon my bare and calloused feet hit the coolness of the wooden floor. My legs brought me over to my window, outside the black-throated grey warbler sang. The song sent a nervous tap down my spine and made me wobbly in the knees. A bead of sweat dribbled a path down my forehead and crashed into the floor. He made me feel uneasy like. Cymbals in my ears and music to the warbler. The bags under my eyes drooped heavily, reflecting colors of lilac and grey. Same color grey as that damned bird. It made me hate myself, my own skin. If I could, I’d jump out of it, shedding my skin like one of those snakes you see in National Geographic. My freckles yawned. I brought my sleepy fingers to the window pane and jerked my arms upwards towards the ceiling. The October air stung at my dull skin and clawed into my throat. “Whaddya want?” I yelled at the bird. Then there was a minute of silence, of nothing. Then at once he responded back, sanguine as usual.

 

          Zeep zeedle zeep zeep. The moon held itself up in the night sky, depending on its own strength, light speckled and dappled the warblers body. “Can’t ya let me get some sleep?” By this point my voice had dulled down to a whisper. I snapped my neck to the left and looked over at my alarm clock, red dogmatic letters threw themselves onto the ground; 2:38 a.m.. The bright red melted into the mucky darkness surrounding the warbler and I. There was no noise, except one. Zeeep. The warbler offered me a confused look. He repositioned himself on the tree branch, a fidgety fellow, inching closer to the open window. He had small yellow patches hugging his eyes and shaky twig like legs. The presence of the warbler made me grow anxious; it acted as a yoke, balancing a tremendous and crushing weight atop my skeleton. I felt like I would fall at any moment. I couldn’t tell you why.

 

 

          The sun stretched and yawned filling my bedroom with the sound of cracking joints, painting the morning skies the color of nicotine stained fingers and teeth. I found myself on the floor; my window remained open. The bird was gone, at least now he was. He was sure to return by sunset; I knew it. Inevitability was not kind. I lifted myself off the oak floor panels and to my feet. My under eyes were bruised fuchsia, a permanent stamp of fatigue. Maybe if I hadn’t been awake at 2 a.m talking to a god damned bird, they would be a more pleasant color. Fleshy pink or healthy peach. My parents were still asleep, not arguing or exchanging violent phrases, but sleeping. I crept down the stairs, making sure not to wake them with the sound of moaning floorboards and my socked feet. The normal breakfast, stale toast, a blue chalky pill and black coffee, settled heavily in the bottom of my stomach, as if I had swallowed rocks and hornets– they stung.

 

          I found contentment in the almost silence of my morning walk to school. All that could be heard was my leather dress shoes striking hard on the pavement. These walks gave me time to think, time to meld my mind around happenings that engulfed me, happenings that swallowed me whole. Though this morning I waded through the thick exhausting air, I was a corpse. My skin the color grey, much like a storm cloud or lead. I hated myself. There was no longer sensation in my finger tips and my lungs were constricted tightly by a plethora of elastic bands. In English class, Mrs. Cooper would be sure to point out in front of my peers that I looked just terrible and send me to the nurse. With sudden might silence shattered, sending shards of glass deep into my forehead and frontal lobe, sharp force trauma. Zeedle zeep zeedle.

 

          It was that damn bird again. The warbler sat comfortably with ease, nestled in the branches of a spindly oak tree. I could feel his charcoal eyes beaming deep into my collarbones. Zeep. My penny loafers cemented to the tar beneath me, as if I had stepped on a festering wad of chewing gum. I spoke again to the bird. “Whaddya want?” If someone happened to stroll by they’d surely call me crazy, shouting at a tiny bird. To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to know what the hell that warbler wanted. I just needed to get to school and through the day. Spin on my heels, turn around, get back under my covers and get some sleep, even.

“I just wanted to see you, that’s all,” said the warbler, his beak moving unassumingly, up and down, nine meager twitches. I tried to ignore the warbler, I really did. Just the sight of him knotted up my stomach, swelling my insides until they resembled bunches of black carnival balloons. Zeep zeep zeeble.