by Brian Foley
From the stairs we see a swallow dance in the grey pond of our yard. It performs the forgotten moves like Swimming-with-Pockets-Full-of-Sand, the Lonesome Gymnast, and the Elbow. I think it might be sick, but you swear you've seen those moves before on a beach in Malibu. I have been few places other than the stairs. There is a hush music on the air we can't hear but bob our heads pretending we can. It is only when he stops squirming for a moment I notice the bird's shadow. It is a long, tall shadow - bigger than the outline of an oak tree, and wider than the shade of our tenement. It is a shadow much too big for a small bird. And it keeps growing outward into the street, into other yards. Some neighboring birds in a nearby bath are dimmed to disappearance. We hear their cries until we don't anymore. It swallows the ugly house across the street and the good looking house next to it. I worry about my Honda Civic parked down the street, but you are wiser than that. You declare the bird as some sort of voodoo priest, the dances not a celebration for our benefit but dark rituals. Suddenly there is a tiny bone in its beak I had not noticed before, a miniature headdress materializing on its crown. You get real quiet, as if struggling to remember the last name of a one night stand in college. Then you stand and move to startle it, beating your arms like a bigger bird. The bird takes off into the air and you along with it in pursuit, a pair in chase casting a thick blood over the region. Streetlights come on and a damp vulnerability sets it. That is when we finally hear the music and enter a new age, where we will live in anxiety underneath an ocean of a trillion swallows swarming overhead.
About the author:
Brian Foley recently set his kitchen on fire. Four knee injuries and one fatality were documented. His work has appeared in Eyeshot, Lamination Colony, Quick Fiction, Juked, Night Train, Thieves Jargon, Right Hand Pointing, and Death Metal Poetry. He runs a popular reading series in Boston and houses his inventions at < a href="http://www.eunuchblues.blogspot.com">www.eunuchsblues.blogspot.com.