Brushing of Wings

by Anar Rajabali

I heard it first in the kitchen whilst
buttering brown toast—
a flash of feathery blue wings
disbelieving, then in the corner of my vision,
a flapping rush right
through the open patio door
surprising invitation, a wild welcoming
to walls, momentary conviction
entering the living room to
a piano, a couch, a lamp,
photographs, books
meeting beak and bird
a mirror—

I am screaming down the corridor
with my small sister in tow
our arms flailing to the sound of wildness
not looking behind to slam
the bedroom door and lock it too, impenetrable
safety now crouching
hearing the voice
of my father hushing and
the brushing of wings against the piano keys—
A fluttering dance of fear and faith.

I envision his rough rugged hands,
somehow tender here,
guiding beating bloodied body
toward one of the open windows
releasing into the soft sun
in a few minutes it was over.

We hear the silence
and come to see him
staring out the window soaked
in the midday light half silhouetted, wingless.

I think of the bird, a Steller’s jay, suspended
in the in-between of flight feeling
the rushing of wind against her vivid wings
catching that bold breath of momentary freedom—
before finding the open beaks
of her young, this call to duty
that keeps her fiercely moving.

— from Juniper Volume 2, Issue 3