The Caged Bird

Her luminosity is devastating. I am shrunken to an insect, diminished to almost nothingness before the passion of her pain and radiant weakness. I dab her forehead and cheeks with creek water. "Li Thi, my brother, you love me." I do. I do love you.

"Let me kiss you once more, my brother." Kiss as a brother.

We watch ourselves as if from above. My prayerful mouth, open in wonder, covers her mouth, open in ecstasy. Lips protective the commingling of our spirits. We breathe like this for a long time, surviving on each other's air. Emptiness is manifest. Let her breathe the broken bird into her brother's empty cage, to live and take refuge in exile. Is this not appropriate?

"Come on, Normy. You're giving me the creeps. She's a stiff." 'Bama Sam, shaken as a felled tree. "Besides, it's not safe around here."

Please believe I am no longer alive. I left my spirit in the corpse buried at the junction of creeks from which she drew water and washed for her father and her brother, Li Thi.

Sometimes I feel Sun flutter against my ribs.

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