3 Jan 2012

A couple of my writing pieces (one of them is below) are published in this month's issue of Racing Minds. It's a lovely online publication featuring known and unknown photographers, illustrators, writers and artists in general. I also did some watercolours for them back in 2010.

Writing, p. 138-139 of Volume 2 Issue 7
Illustrations, p. 11-13 of Volume 1 Issue 8

A birthday present: it came in a sky-blue wire cage mummified in scarlet ribbon. I winched the cage to the ceiling and watched the bird walk up and down its perch.

I had thought it would sing to me. Peering down its throat I probed, with one hand wrapped around its chest so that I felt the breaths come and go underneath my grip with the other in front of its face. Nothing seemed amiss down that tiny tunnel, but still the thing was limp and soundless. Back on its swing the beak opened and closed in silence, like daisy petals except the pink was on the inside, and I shouted at the bars until the bird rocked away from me and a gem of saliva froth landed, melted into downy breast feathers. Contrary, tragic titch. I wondered whether its songs were just inaudible to my ears.

I used to tie a piece of string around its foot and fly it in the garden, though the thing would fly so fast that when the string ran out it was thrown back to the earth with a snap. One or two small feathers fell out each time and floated back down behind it. I kept them and lined them up along my windowsill where they lay and moved in the draft. They faded in the sunlight until they weren’t green like nymph-infested waters but pale grey and coated in dust. Soon they withered into matted clumps of dirty brown and Mum made me throw them away.

The bird was soon tired of losing its feathers and refused to fly. Its movements slowed, its trembles were fewer. It often would be still as old bone for hours and days, staring with half-closed eyes at the wall. It couldn’t face the window.

One morning, I looked and saw it sleeping, and as I watched its wings began to creak and twitch. Then, quite surprisingly, they fell. And they lay bent upon the cage bottom while their owner dozed above.

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