It was only a matter of time- I knew that as I watched them every morning.
How they silently wait to ambush- aim to kill.
But knowing something is imminent doesn’t prevent your breath from catching when it becomes reality.
How they lie at your doorstep, perfect and unmoving, a fairytale gone wrong.
The three of us stand, staring- audible gasps hanging in the space between us.
How do we open the door when death is waiting there?
On the other side of that glass, we bend low, hovering as they once did.
How they stare, unblinking, at the sky that once held them.
One wing distorted, one eye half-closed. I am afraid to move- afraid to breathe.
How do you help a fairytale creature fly again?
This one is breathing, a small voice says. I’ll get some nectar, I hear my reply.
How time hangs on when the end draws near.
I place the nectar next to the breathing one- prop her up.
How the life does spring when death does knock.
She chirps her thanks and tries her wings. She hovers low, then lands on the chair- slides backward.
How the fairytale fights to hold on to her reality.
Two of us circle back to the one with the broken wing- the broken stare.
How the grief penetrates the sensitive heart.
Where has she gone? the little one asks, looking up, and up.
How the trees call to the one with life in her wings.
We all look up. We don’t see her again. And then we look down, at the one with the broken wing.
How one hopes for miracles even when he knows the end.
We wait for her life to come back- this is a fairytale, after all. And then the shovel is retrieved.
How long is the walk to the burial site.
I dig into holy ground- where the secret garden will grow. A small shovel for a small life.
How hard the earth seems when one craves soil unbound.
We place her body there on the hard clay- take turns covering her with the earth.
How freedom floods when closure arrives.
I stand in the kitchen and look it up- why do they kill each other like this?
How does one prepare for the truth when it hurts?
Protectors of their food supply- protectors for their offspring- for their migration.
Scarcity drives them- fear that it will all run out.
How they silently wait to ambush..
I wish I could pull them all under my wing- tell them I will keep refilling the nectar. They can have peace.
How my heart yearns to speak the language of fairytales.