Writing Prompt: “Write from the perspective of a birdcage whose bird recently died.”

A shadow dripping like wax from the sides of my frame and into the wood below, spilling through old white washed boards, into mysterious blackened cavities.  The shadows hasten and wend, swaying against and with the wind, not capturing my countenance, at all, but reflecting only movement.  As the sun rolls down one side of the sky my bars are getting cold despite their determination to glisten, like agitated mirrors of the impatient light it leaves behind.  I lean into that quiet moment just before the night, when all the earth fights against the dark and tries to hold the light up with shaking palms against the sky.

A brass ring binds me to the top of the porch, like a caveman dragging his woman by her hair.  As I move with the whispers blowing off the orange field before me the swinging ring shrieks with rust and years of ebb and flow, like the ocean bowing to the shore.  My ring and the chains on the porch swing below oscillate with sputtering voices joining one another in unison or dissonant rambles:  a cacophony of sound.  We swell in a symphony of necessity conducted by wafts of air that fly over the mountains and through the valley rolling to the foot of my home.

A single pitch, a single tone, one solitary call into the falling sun once marking this scene with shrilled delight lies taciturn inside of me:  a pile of feathers whipping almost playfully with the direction of the whim-filled wind.  A heaviness, sinking downward in my soul becoming onerous with the weight of an unexpected hush.  The orchestra of twilight marches through the horizon, like a skilled and seasoned band between an audience of grass, horses, mountains and my home.  Picking its feet up higher and higher, the brass, woodwinds and the drum line wield their instruments like weapons, or like a drunk man sloshes his drink around his lips . . . until the Grand Marshall, the sun, lowers his baton into the splashing void of the night sky, thus, covering the ears of the world with a shocking . . . stillness.

There is a hurriedness, a final push toward holding up the sky that occurs just before the stars peek their eyes open and reveal themselves like blossoms of seeds planted the night before.  In that impetuous hour my soul builds into the climax of night.  In the denouement of that crowning moment, I hear only my breath, rushing in and out of my nostrils like a horse whose rider finally closed the door of the stable for the day.  I rest.

Alone now, but for ounces of dust unraveling within my center, I remember that the sun will yawn into the sky tomorrow.  The winking stars will see me once again.  And my purpose will soon be filled with a new soul whose song is fashioned for a new day.

–Jill Szoo Wilson