King of Birds (intro)

My mother only took photographs of sadness. The Crown box camera clicked and fluttered; the wide-eyed shutter collapsed like a hesitant flower with withering petals. The camera looked like a hearse and the images were minor funerals; the death of each moment captured on film. The still photographs were like gravestones that visited only on holidays.

Most nights we sat together on the crumbling front steps of our unfortunate house. My mother smoked a cigarette, while I would stare at the orange ember fuse glow and then, watch for the barrage of dying comets that fell from her eyes like cold failed stars.

[Do stars have teeth?]

It’s all space and distance, light years apart, which only the rarest love can cover. Even I, who had walked on water, could barely cross the distance to reach her. By the time I arrived I’d be exhausted, buried from the burden of crossing; the weight of space and traveling on stars is a soulless experience meant only for gods and ghosts. Yet, my mother had carried me for so many miles just to arrive here and had even lost one of us on the way; my phantom twin acknowledged only in the space between our silences. She carried such strange burdens, which she never shared. She only looked at me with hopelessness and called me her savior. Little did she know that I had laid down my cross years ago and had grown wings instead. What my mother called madness I deemed mercy, the kind that flows between the banks of devotion and doubt.

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