Shredded Meat

My bashful, scruffy eyes planted themselves upon a delicious pair of lips. Blood pulsed from one arm and into the oblivion of the laboratory. And for the first time, I didn’t care what they found. I was innocent. A gentle soul, my mother used to say as she sprayed hairspray in a sticky halo about her head.
Others have been less kind.
But time has been good to me. Inching forward, gentle as a whisper.
Animals know they ought to be afraid of me but they aren’t. Birds observe me with a perplexed curiosity, their heads tilted to one side. They chatter at me, as though trying to make me understand something. Or perhaps they are performing. Auditioning for my friendship. Like the birds of Papua New Guinea.
Like the stray, vibrant imaginings of my younger mind. Bright upon the air.
Mountains perform the part of enormous arms, hugging the island against the worst of the storm. So the music can continue to bathe the air in colour and spice.
In a dream, I watch my brothers and sisters dance. Once vibrantly coloured feathers decorate their heads and arms. The true brilliance of their hue died with the bird.
Flames dance; each aggressive tongue teasing the next with the promise of touch.
Circling the camp, between the fire and the stars, are pinches of air. Knots in the fabric of the universe. Not souls. Not meteorological anomalies either. They occupy the space where the songs of the birds used to live; along with their feathers, chirping beaks and bashful, scruffy eyes.
And they watch her lips, as I have; every second without words like a tiny death. An apocalypse of the heart.


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