L Mari Harris

Birds

 

Long after the street lights flicker on and the rooms dim, when clothes have been hung and TVs turned off, when all is quiet, we choose our feathers.

We unfold our wings and gather in the halls to dance and preen, decorating our crests with construction paper flowers and garlands. We then fly out the windows, the tips of our wings caressing, and we soar in circles over the trees and roofs.

Our laughter floats over the streets, and we hear the surprised whispers of the half-woken. We settle on power lines and stifle giggles with feathers folded over beaks.

Some of us ask if we can look into the houses, watch what they do when they think they’re alone. We tickle each other, our beaks smooching click clack clack. We, too, were once young and in love.

Sometimes we fly to the ice cream shack, squeeze down the roof vent, and make ourselves butterscotch sundaes, our little toes tap tap tapping over the counters, our little bird tongues lapping the ice cream, taking turns preening the sticky butterscotch from our throats and breasts.

Other times, we gather outside the liquor store, perch along the curb, and wait as our bravest scuttles through the broken window in the back, wings tucked and folded tight, until she’s back and we twitter and cry Me Me Me! 

Back and forth she flies, bringing drops of cheap wine until we are all a little tipsy and we are ready to tell our stories.

Memory or regret?, we are asked.

Regret, we answer.

 


L Mari Harris splits her time between Nebraska and the Ozarks, and works as a copywriter in the tech industry. Her work has appeared in Atticus Review, Bending Genres, cahoodaloodaling, Gravel, Lost Balloon, Milk Candy Review, among others. Follow her on Twitter @LMariHarris and read more of her work at www.lmariharris.wordpress.com.