mall birds

I tried to free mall birds once. Stock team started our workday before the sun. At that hour, feathered blurs streaked the ceiling with abandon.

During breaks, I pondered the unspoken logistics behind keeping droppings from shoppers’ eyes and bags, while plotting to rescue the droppers.

My appointment to the post had nothing to do with physical strength (which would’ve been nice for all those boxes). Rather, I had an uncommon capacity for self-resurrection during deep sleep hours.

Being on time before time ought to be allowed to be on.

It took a few weeks for my crew to tell me, with a laugh, they’d taken bets on my first absence. “We just thought, you know, another college girl. She won’t be here too long.” I wasn’t offended; I’d met the day crew (who called the mall birds “pests”).

Painstakingly, I got a gray one as far as the first set of double doors. In that glassy limbo it flailed around, confused and alarmed, until finally, it scrambled its way back to its enclosure.

Sofia walked over shaking her head. “No, mami. She cannot come and go like you. She is here for good, like me.” She chuckled cheerfully. So I laughed too, but without ease.

A shiny gray tuft was swirling its way down to the grimy floor, heavily weighing my insides.