She Flew on the Back of a Bird

I keep a woman in my kitchen

cupboard beside the cereal. She eats

Kellogg’s Cornflakes all day and keeps

a garden under an artificial

sun. I flew here on the back

of a bird, strapped in with chewing gum

and scotch tape, she tells me.

But I know it isn’t true. I found her

at a Costco in the suburbs where she begged

to be brought downtown.

 

I wasn’t like this when I flew

on the back of the bird

she says. Dr. Finestine diagnosed

me with mild depression last week, but

because I’m so small, I feel it so big.

I’m so small I see happiness,

flecks of it floating through space,

but there’s none of it here, just the noise

the refrigerator makes. This place

should be sealed off then demolished.

 

In her teacup bath that afternoon, I ask her

to please quit this flying on the back

of a bird thing. There are so many holes

inside your heart, I’m short on supplies to

stop them up. Her face flattens

and folds like it’d been smashed

with the back of a frying pan.

 

She pulls out her pubic hair, a tuft

in each hand. Shampoo, specially formulated

for people under seven inches,

runs down her face. She unscrunches

her fists and offers the hairs to me

like each one is the physical form of a prayer.

I flew on the back of a bird, she says, strapped

into place with chewing gum and tape.

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