Stiches: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing.

I know why the caged bird sings. For it laments it's taste of freedom that it gets so sparingly. Freedom that, isn't truly freedom at all. For if it were truly free, it would have free will. And that, is something it cannot have. And so, it sings, to disguise the melancholy and listlessness it has deep in its core.

I know why the caged bird sings

There was a cold drizzle outside that misted the windowed doorway of Stitches. The sound of rain falling hummed as it tapped consistently on the building. Inside, the Doctor sat in his chair beside his gurney, reclining comfortably as he examined his cuff links. He was waiting for the next patient to come through his doors, so as to fulfill his duties; It had been a few days since his last.

Out of boredom, he got up from his chair and walked out to see if perhaps there was someone out there who had not wandered their way to his inevitable doorway. He wrapped himself in his trench coat, no hat, but did slip on a pair of finger-less gloves. His hands were his prized possessions- but he hated the barrier of cotton between his fingertips. It was nothing like the latex gloves he wore so often. So he set foot to wander.

There was one body up ahead with arms flailing to and fro as they palmed walls of buildings, street lamps, window sills, anything they could touch as they fumbled through the puddles and the drizzling air. They groaned and grunted as they moved, sighing in frustration at the shocking cold. The doctor stood there for a moment, watching. It wasn't so much about caution, rather, the unassuredness of whether they were there for him; someone he could fix. Whether they were just lost and aimless, purposeless; or if they could be fixed by his needle and thread.

Regardless, he moved forward to investigate more closely.

"Are you lost, dear?" The doctor held out a hand to their shoulder. They flinched at the unexpected touch.

"Lost?" They whispered, placing their hands out front, groping the other's jacket up to the Doctor's face. "I am afraid I do not even know how I got here, or what I am doing here, or why even, I am blind."

"Well, we will take care of that, I am sure. Why don't you come with me to my office. Here, allow me to take your hand and I will guide you safely there. Stitches, will take care of all your needs."

And so they both left, the girl stumbling behind the doctor whose finger tips were even more cold than the dampness. They entered through the doorway of Stitches, with its typical dim lit flood lights and various signs in the cases to depict different offers. They moved on past the black curtain, to the gurney where so many have laid before her.

"Let's take a look, shall we? You won't feel a thing, I promise."

The clothes were stripped to reveal a creamy complexion splattered with olive stains fading into blues and greens. The doctor raised a brow, which turned into a deep furrow. There wasn't a peep from the girl. She just stared blankly ahead, swallowed in darkness even as the doctor ran a hand over her body, testing the various spots. The unassured posture turned stoic, and hardened at the reveal.

"Speak. I know you have a tongue. That was the one thing they couldn't take from you."

There was still silence. Enveloping; stale. Just the buzzing from the floodlights which became more and more displacing as the disconnect grew. He sighed. Off went the jacket, the gloves, which after he fluidly turned his back to the table beside the gurney which held all of his medical gear. From the neatly placed row, he pulled out a scalpel. With no statement or precursor, he laid her down and began to slice the familiar cadaver's cut so he may get a further look inside. As he cut he heard a quiet melancholy song whistling inside the body muffled by the pounds of flesh.

The insides looked normal. Nothing was corrupted by entering Stitches. However, the true demeanor showed through past the fear and confusion. Despite that, on surface level, everything was normal… aside from the short tune that repeated in its pianissimo. Doctor paused, and placed his scalpel on the dish where he put his used utensils. He dragged a nearby stool over, and sat, staring her in the eye. Even though she could not see it, he knew that she knew.

"Speak, dear. I want your story. You are not like other patients I have had. Your body has not molded or corrupted or changed to reveal your woes as others have to show me who they are. Who they have become on the inside beneath their shell, the thing they hide from the world above all else. I want to know, I don't want to take your story from you. As they have probably taken your life."

"Kill me," she rasped, her eyes as blank and staring straight ahead as they have been.
The song grew louder, to a mezzo-piano, and the heart began to beat irregularly. Extra pulses rose in quick jabs. The commotion caught the doctor's eye, and he picked up his scalpel again.

"You leave me with no choice."

Slowly, he started at the top of the heart cutting through the aortic chambers to reveal a small finch sized song bird that stared him dead in the eye. It stopped singing to open its beak threateningly, spreading its wings within the confines of the muscle's wall. At the soonest chance, the bird dove for freedom, only to be yanked back by an invisible tether. It struggled against it, making a cacophony of noise as it did so with its wings flapping furiously.

"You see," Whispered the doctor as he gently cupped the bird to place back inside the muscle, "We are who we are through meticulous dissection and suturing of all the things we come by… And so, by that logic we should have control of the things that shape us. That make us who we are. Why, just look. You have this beast that still puts up the good fight for you and you want to die? Pity."

He placed the bird inside the cavity, and it went back to whistling its song quietly, choosing to nestle its head under a wing.

"I know why the caged bird sings."

With a sharp raise of his head, the man stared at the body beneath him, brow furrowed while his hands prepared the sutures. "And, how exactly do you know what it is? You are blind."

"Being blind does not equal being stupid. I know why it sings. For it laments the taste of freedom that it gets so sparingly. Freedom that, isn't truly freedom at all. For if it were truly free, it would have free will. And that, is something it cannot have. And so, it sings, to disguise the melancholy and listlessness it has deep in its core.

"As much as I could live, and move on, and do so out of spite, the past will haunt me. I may be free, but I am truly not free. And so I am deemed to repeat and renew, and survive this constructed cage that may have been made entirely by myself. So please. If there was anything you could do, it would be to let me free."

By the time she was finished speaking, her eyes fixated on that where the doctor's was, whose were staring at the smokey pupils while he scooped the bird in one of his hands, and grabbed a pair of scissors. He opened them and placed them beneath the bird to where he thought the tether might be, and gave it a purposeful snip. The bird, realizing its severance, stilled its song and immediately dove from its captivity, flying somewhere inside the shop as far away from the body as possible. The corpse's eyes slowly shut in one last heavy exhale of relief.

"While it is usual of me to keep such treasures of those who die, or leave here… I will honor your request, my dear. May you find the peace you were looking for at last."


"Are you sure you want to take her off life support?"

"I think we're sure. We don't know if she'll even be the same if she would wake… if she could wake. The damage is too much."

"Very well. We'll proceed immediately."


"An effort in Dialogue"

The bell jingles above the doorway, notifying that someone had arrived to the shop.

"Welcome, stranger, to Stiches. We repair and fix whatever is ailing you at the present time, for a fee, of course."

"Honestly, I am not even sure why I am here."

The vendor behind the counter smirks to himself as he beckons the visitor further inside.
"That is alright. Not many do, we'll sort it out together, won't we?" It wasn't so much a question as it was a statement.

With a sigh and a slow walk forward, they stooped over the counter top looking at the giant sign resting inside:

"These things that you can do, they're strange. They don't seem to be normal vendor goods at all. 'Heart splints,' 'memory wipes (to cleanse of the soul of impurities)'? And, there isn't even a fee attached."

"That is because these skills, these services, are very specific, and belong to specialized folk, such as myself. For you see, every action is equal to an equal or opposite reaction, and so, you must choose wisely what it is you desire to alter. And with what you choose, I can make that a reality. That is the business of Stiches."

A look behind the vendor at the counter offered nothing more than just a black curtain, as there was nothing inside the actual display The walls were plain, much like an office.

"I am unsure. I do not know what all of this means, or what it does, or what I am doing here, even." They raised a hand to their face, viewing the old scars on the wrist.

"You seemed awfully sure before. So sure that your own feet and free will brought you here. You wanted change, you wanted something new, and now you have the opportunity to take it, and you're balking?"

"It seemed like the right decision at the time… It seemed like the best route to getting anything done."

There was a pause.

"Could you, maybe fix that?"

"Why, of course my child! We can fix anything here, at Stitches. All we need is simply your consent."

"You have it."


They retired behind the counter, the newly acquired patient laying bare on the cold metal dissection table with the grey light beaming down, allowing no visibility to the rest of the room.

"I haven't even decided what I wanted done."

"That is fine, we'll work it out, remember? Everything will be taken care of and you'll be fine. You don't even need any anesthetic, I promise."

"Will it hurt?"

"Heavens, no. I just said you won't need any anesthetic, didn't I? Don't worry about a thing, I will take care of everything."

A gloved hand traced the hair line, stopping at a small lump of scarred tissue.

"Where did you get this from?"

The patient raised their hand to touch the lump, reaching back into their memory to recall the incident as if it happened yesterday.

"I… was climbing a tree. It was just myself, I had no one to play with at the time. I guess I must have climbed too high, and lost my footing."

"And that is how you gained a fear of heights?"

"How did you know?"

"We know everything, at Stiches."

Down the hairline, to the jawline, at the ear, flicking a piece of jewelry pierced in the fatty lobe. "Just one, hm?"

A quick look about showed no other abnormalities, aside from the scarred wrists. The vendor leaned over to a small side table, and pulled out a scalpel to inspect.

"You said this wasn't going to hurt!"

"It won't. Unless you want it to?"


"Very well. I just wanted to take a look on the inside, since, there doesn't seem to be anything externally that seems worth your while to fix. I certainly can't remove those scars on your wrists. You put them there."

And with that, they placed the scalpel between the two clavicles, slipping between flesh and bone, down the sternum, to the xyphoid process and just above the gut. Both flesh, muscle, and bone, spread apart to reveal the inner organs, a mess of things as they were.

"My, my, my. What an awful sty we have down here. You certainly don't play nice with your body, do you? It's all chipped away; who have you been giving these pieces to?"

Alarmed, the patient tried to rise, in both fear, and surprise as to what was being seen. They were only held still by the hand that was curiously poking around the lungs to take a closer look at the heart.

"My body is fine! What are you doing in there? How did you do that?"

"Calm down. Here, at Stiches, we see everything. Just as we know everything. Remember, we'll figure out what we'll fix, together? Now, now, what a shamble this poor little body is in. It certainly needs a lot of fixing. But, I do wonder, if your chest cavity is in this bad a shape… how your brain might look. Just look at your heart-- well, you can't, but just imagine it, will you-- it's quivering like it's got vice grips on it. It's even leaking. No wonder you're here, you need some stiching up. You also seem to need a lesson or two in taking care of yourself."

'Are you seriously just going to leave me like a cadaver while you walk off?"

"Hm? I'm only getting more tools; we're in this for the long haul, I am afraid. Now, while I prepare, why not tell me why there is such a strain on yourself, so much that you can't even function properly."

Silence grew while the rest of the tools were gathered; alcohol wipes, stitching hook, stitching wire.

"I don't know what to say. Life has been incredibly difficult these past few years. Death in the family, terrible relationships, and worse friendships. I've just, been worn out. Worn down. Bitter at the world, spiteful towards myself--"

"It shows."

"I guess it does. You did say you see everything, I think. I just. gave up."

"Well, I am sure we'll patch you right up-- for a fee, of course, I might add-- but let's take a look at that head of yours, hmm? Let's see what kind of a mess that is. Let me just put this neck rest under you so we can get a clearer look-- ahh, yes, just like that… Beautiful."

Like with the chest, the vendor took the scalpel along the hair line to reveal the brain, dodging the pool of blood that spilled from inside.

"Oh my. You have quite the emotional hemorrhaging going on in here, don't you. Bleeding with emotion, must be why your poor heart is quivering so much. It can't even pump properly with all this stress you're putting on it. Silly brain. You know… You do have more power over your life's governance than you realize. Despite, what your emotional brain is telling you."

"It doesn't seem that way. I just do what I do, which, to say the least, isn't much any more."

"Aside from worry yourself to oblivion, of course."

There was a sheepish grimace. More blood pooling inside the skull.

"You are quite the mess, aren't you. Welp, that is what I am here to do, of course. Fix you up. Now, let's get to it. Perhaps, I should start on the brain. Wouldn't want you coming back here a second time, that would be terrible. Not that you're bad company, of course. Just, the significance of it, would be terrible."

The vendor took a rag to the inside of the skull to begin working, taking his scalpel and his stitching hook and trading between the two. They hummed and haw'd a bit while they took closer looks, noting different things and significance, all the while formulating the precise plan of

"I… Lost the will to live. A long time ago. Life was just going no where, and, being queer, it just gets that much harder, you know? Society doesn't accept you, family doesn't accept you, hell, even I couldn't accept myself."

"Is that why you tried drowning? To make it easier?"

"I think so. Make it easier on everyone else. Since, you know, I didn't belong. I couldn't belong."

"You certainly have a long ways to go. But killing yourself wasn't the answer. But I am. You see, we are who we are through meticulous dissection and suturing of all things we come by. And so, I am here do that for you, for, you can either become the thing you fear, which is in your case, death, or you can become something stronger, and survive. The unfortunate cost of all this is the repercussion. If you can pay me that, and survive, we'll be good. Otherwise, I'll simply have to let you die. The choice is really yours."

Silence filled the room again with consideration.

"I don't know. This all seems great and all, but, I don't know if I can handle it."

"Well, don't make me do all this work for nothing! I have to make a living you know. I have to take care of myself, also, and you've spent so much of my time already."

"I'm sorry, I--"

"Oh, quiet, you. Just understand that when you go back, it'll be that's final. You ready?"



*Analyzing heart rhythm. No shock advised.*

There was a brief check for a pulse and breathing from the EMT, as they gave the all clear to load up the victim to the ambulance.

"It looks like they made it through alright. Thankfully you were there to catch them in time. They owe you their life."

"I couldn't just let them die."

"They cut their wrists pretty badly, so they're going to need some stitching to fix that up, but we'll take care of that."


The bell rang, notifying that a new customer had arrived through the doorway.

"Welcome to Stiches! We repair and fix whatever is ailing you at the present time, for a fee, of course. Oh my God, you poor thing, look at that face… I'll fix you right up."

Red Robin's Grave

My child, my darling. Today is your birthday. Today, September 24th, 1879.

I can just picture you now, picking flowers and blades of grass, happily tossing them into the wind as you giggle. Your cheeks brightly blushing red in the sunshine with blond locks grazing your forehead on your cherub body. My baby boy, you would have been 3 today. Would have.

You were never conceived and for that, that was my fault. It was my duty, my responsibility, and for that, I could not follow through. Could not... or would not. It matters not these days. I recall the arguments, the fights, the stress. I was unable to take it in like a good Mother should. I remember the day, as I lie in bed to the agony that arose in my abdomen, the flaring shock of blood as my body ejected you like some common virus. And I remember the emotional hemmorhaging as I continued to lie in bed without a thought or care of the mess or the entrails or whatever ghastly sight I had.

All I knew was it was all over. My life, my marriage, I knew I would never breed a child as long as I lived, such were my genetics.

My child, I did all I could to preserve your life and memory I took herbal medicines and rested every day, I made sure not to bump my belly, to not bend, to not move, I was glass. and even then, I was broken, faulty by design...

I have your remains hidden in the back yard in a private grave that I hid from my husband. Every day I went to your grave to grieve and seek solace from my own terribleness. There was none to receive of course, but there was a stale comfort in wallowing in self pity.

Above your grave was an old Robin's nest. Every year there would be fresh chicks from the light blue eggs. You could tell by their endless screeching for food. One day as I knelt beside your grave singing you the lullaby you would never hear, there tumbled from the nest was a Robin's chick. Barely feathered and ugly, it struggled to get up. Whether it was kicked from the nest or simply fell, I went to scoop it up and brought it to the house, thinking perhaps I could nurse it into an age where it could take care of itself. Perhaps, it could be my baby. A faulty representation of what I could have had.

The baby bird lasted maybe a month on what I could give it as I watched the mother bird spit up half digested bits of worm and bug. It wasn't like a baby. I could not give it the milk that still swelled in my breasts, that ached as much as my heart. I had done so much to try and keep that young bird alive, it was as if I was given redemption for creating what my body would reject. But... it was not to be, my child.

And so I took the young chick to the yard where I had hidden your grave and I made another small buriel for the young fledgling right next to yours.

I had learned, that no matter how much effort and nuturing you put into something.... sometimes its will is simply to die. And perhaps one day, I too, will die, but not now, my darling child. For I have a new family, and a new child whom I adopted, someone you would have loved dearly, I am sure. And for that, I shall live. And may you, and that red robin, rest peacefully in your grave.

Dearest Rose

  Dearest Rose;

There were fields of golden yellow rapeseed, specked with purple and surrounded by steady hills and shrubbery. And there was you; twirling in the flowers and kicking up your skirts like some child. Yet, you were a child in spirit. A haughty laugh to go with your somber eyes- grey, like the storms that were held above our heads with weighty clouds. You did not mind, nor did it matter, the threat of rain as you pranced around. For you, time was best lived in the moment. And the moment was seized in our Carpe Diem.

I always found slight irony in how we were together. Your sharp wit and nature, to my dull, bleeding heart. And perhaps that is why it bleeds; for you my dear, have cut into this very soul. Cut it up and shredded it about like it was commonplace. I suppose after all that is why your name is Rose.

Peculiar it was that we both had a similar fancy in books, me as the writer and you as the reader. We talked until the night grew quiet in stillness with the ceasing of crickets chirping, and distracted lovers walking. Peculiar, yes, in how we met in that lone bookstore on the corner that I had thought was long forgotten about in modern time. You told me of a great list of things you were interested in, other than books. Science(which for a woman like you, was quite a different thing to run into), the arts, particularly that of Old Billy. I never grew a fancy to his style, too much irony for my taste. You also stated a love for music, particularly that of the piano. And here I sit, thinking, of how peculiar that statement was and how much I had to offer you, a stranger, simply in my own breeding and stature in the world. And how I, was an able bachelor, and to my knowledge, you, were a free woman.

But, I feel also that had come with its own price of misfortune that had befallen us both. More so myself at your wrath.

I felt our time together after many months had become sufficient in knowing you and your every being. I had felt contentment that I had not yet experienced in my lifetime. You were adoring, and had innocence that perked my interest and desire to teach in all manner of subjects. Soon, we had wed.

However, much like your namesake, you certainly had thorns which inundated me. Should you want me to play you a piece on my piano, you would first politely ask, unless I rejected your request. Then you would go about thrashing, taking whatever was closest to you and tossing it at me, the floor or the wall. You would cause such a wailing and such a fiery tempest that I had only one choice but to acquiesce. Similar, was your behaviour with many other things. Your moods were quite capricious and volatile, certainly startling to me with but a few months into our marriage.

Times like this reminded me of how much I had felt my heart swell at the sight of you, my chest inflating with such care and devotion. Especially then, as your brunette hair splayed out while you circled on your petite legs with such a carefree look resting on your face.

It was in this moment that I had wanted to preserve your impishness, rather than the cold wrought you shared to me at your whim. Dearest Rose, I asked you to come hither, to sit beside me. Prior, I had prepared a basket for our retreat to the woods filled with goods that we could have dined upon. It was all splayed out upon the grass and the flowers on a large sheet we brought from home. Your favourite cucumber sandwiches were there, as you had such a precise appetite for such things. And, your favourite claret as well.

In my admiration of your dancing I poured the wine and took a bottle of canterella I had stowed away in my pocket. I put in just enough to do the deed, taking full instructions from the street urchin I had purchased it from who obliged in giving me the poison after receiving a greedy sum of money for its gain.

You ate your fill, and I watched; smiling and agreeing. The taste was exquisite, prepared with the finest. I offered you the claret to wash it down, because your slight inebriation always brought me amusement. So of course you drank. I had drew you close shortly after, stroking your hair, reminding you of what we were, and my devotion to you. Whispering to you the things I had wanted to say in my anger in my pain, as your eyes slowly glossed over, your skin discoloring while the poison took effect. It didn't matter that you had long died, my darling. It did not matter to me at all.

This is my confession that I write to you. For as I write, I must state how much my bones ache and how much my heart yearns for you to come back to me. This is my confession to tell you how much I dreaded you and despised your every fibre. I felt not a man, but rather, a child overrun by an emotional tyrant. I wanted to hurt you. I wanted to lock you away. But how could I, your husband and your lover, do such a thing? And so... I did what lovers do. And I put you away as best as I could. Leaving you in that field where no one could find you at least, not until I was long dead.

And so, it is with this confession that I breathe in this toxin, and leave you one final piece I have constructed at my deathbed with this letter.

Dearest Rose... I miss you like the cyanide in my veins.

Timely Possessions

Part 1
A chair creaked back and forth rhythmically in the shadow of a hearth’s fire. Easing onto its haunches and to its toes, while the fire chattered away under breath. The body was wrapped in an old quilted blanket, edges fraying from old use. They hummed an old sea chanty that kept time with the rocking; eyes glistening. The withered face cracked a smile as they pulled the quilt to their nose and giving a last deep breath.

Part 2
Dusk hovered over the dock side while lanterns swayed back and forth and mens’ calls carried over the waves.
Amongst the bustle, the carrying of supplies, the orders, the shuffling footsteps, a couple stood as far from the loading deck as they could.  The shorter of the two was wrapped in a freshly made quilt, to keep the late spring winds from chilling them too much. She raised a hand to the man’s cheek, cupping his jaw while she looked him in the eyes. He stared back, for only a moment before pulling her tightly in an embrace. The blanket was shed, handed over to the gentleman as a final parting gift. There were no words to be said, for they had been spoken and repeated days before. There was a final call from the crew, and the man ran off, blanket in hand to face his life ahead.

Days went by, nights were long. Letters were exchanged when they could, each received having the words read line by line in slow absorption. Until they stopped. Until all that returned was the quilt, no longer fresh. Its color was faded, stained with dirt. It smelled of sweat, blood, salt. It came with a letter wrapped inside its folds.

“We’re heading home, Ana-belle.  The months at sea were worth it, delivering that cargo.  We will have enough to live comfortably, for you, for myself, for our beautiful child when they come. They will be strong like their father, beautiful, like their mother. We will be the happiest people have ever seen. Don’t you fret any more, darling. I’m coming home. I’m coming home!”

Part 3
Laughter rang in the hallways like little chimes that dangled in the breeze. A small, frail child ran over to an old, but sturdy, rocking chair that was occupied by a young woman stitching a patch onto a quilt that covered her legs.

“I have something for you, dear. It was your Grandfather’s, and your Grandmother’s. I feel you are old enough now, child.  It is old, so be careful; cherish it, as they cherished each other. Take it with you on your adventures, wherever you go.”

(no subject)

"Hey! Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier..."

Bourbon was poured into the squat, thick-bottomed glass carefully, precisely.  But almost sloppily, as it about over filled and had to be carefully sipped to prevent spillage of the precious liquor. It rippled as lips grazed the glass, pausing for a moment as if savoring the moment before the liquid scorched the throat and warmed the body.

"I've just been so busy with everything, you know? With getting my life together and finally graduating college. It's been great."
What glass was this now? The fourth? Fifth? The bourbon is running low.

"I can't wait to start my new job, either. I'm going to be able to do so much and see life in a whole new way. I'll be getting married this Summer, too!  It really seems like everything is just coming together. Oh, I am just so happy right now. This must be what bliss feels like."

The glass is now half empty, chased by a drag of a cigarette.  The smoke hovered around in the air, lazily moving along from the the ashen tip. Another drag. A deeper inhale. A harsher sigh. It was stiffeningly quiet with the muted static of the T.V. that once hummed to fill a void that had turned into an abyss. The last of the bourbon was poured into the glass without it being first emptied, held upside down to ensure every last drop meets the remainder. Even a finger rimmed the lip of the bottle.  No good bourbon should go to waste.  Not right now. It was the last they'll have.

"I am so excited, truly. Where have you been, any how? You just gone off, and disappeared lately. Anywho, gotta jet! Going out for dinner to celebrate!"

There was a beep at the answering machine notating the end of the message. And suddenly, the room filled with brooding silence that not even the static from the T.V, could satiate. Seconds went by, as fingers drummed against the side of the glass of bourbon, surprisingly untouched. The next message from the nearby answering machine was played, blinking zero then after.

"Hey, you! Just calling again to see if I would catch you this time. Dinner was fan-tas-tic. Like you would not believe. I got the lobster that was on special for the evening and it was absolutely melt in your mouth.  If you were there, I am so sure you would have loved it.  Jack and Marcy where there, too...."

It rambled on, endlessly, holding a personal conversation with itself. It had minimal pauses and breaks for breaths inbetween words, but nothing of real value.  Just words. The cigarette had gotten one last drag before being ousted with the other few stubs that came before it. The hand jammed itself in a pocket, grabbing an orange bottle of prescription pills that had no lable on the plastic and no marker on the drug. The bottle was emptied, and methodically they were all counted; calculating. They were swept off the table onto a free hand and plunged into the mouth quickly followed by the last of the bourbon.  It was chugged sloppily with some dripping down the sides of the mouth, down the neck and so forth.

"Anyway.... I'm calling because I k/now that I haven't really been there for you lately. Between graduating, getting a fiance, the new job... I kind of got busy, you know? I guess I just wanted to see how you were.  You've been missing, and while we may not say much, we notice. We missed you tonight. Give me a call back when you can, alright? I miss you."

The glass rolled from its hand on its side, spilling remains of bourbon on the side table, eventually landing on the soft carpet intact. Eyes closed partly as the effects of the drugs took hold, ever so slowly ending the life that was once there a few seconds ago.

Hello Again: Prose

I had a thought this morning while revisiting an old favorite artist of mine to flesh out a previous poem that I had written in High School. The poem in itself is made entirely of dialogue, so I pondered on giving it a bit more life. Some modifications of the poem have been made to make a bit more sense, and to fit better within the realm of the scene, but the majority of it has kept its original integrity.

Dusk settled in comfortably while the colors of the Autumn sky melded with that of the trees' orange and red leaves; the cold nipped eagerly in accordance. Dead leaves crunched beneath sluggish footsteps as if they, their selves, were dying.

There was a wrapping at the door.

One, two, three.

Only silence. No responce beyond the heavy oak, not so much as a flicker in the peep hole. The gentleman, dressed in a drab olive uniform, grabbed his hat and wrung it in his hands a few times. His teeth gritted together, chiding himself for depricating his uniform, but he swallowed his pride. He had a message to send, after all. And with that he knocked again with no avail of an answer for its recipient. That was not deterrent enough for him as it was likely that she was there behind the door, awaiting what was to come. He was about to speak until a heavy choke emitted from past the door, rasping out shakey words.

"Hello again. You're at my door..." She paused. Tears began to well in her eyes. Her hair, which usually was folded neatly in a bun, fell around her face. Her cream night gown sagging in old wear instead of freshly washed and crisply ironed. Her head bowed against the door, she spoke, finding strength for her words again. "And, I can't find a word to say. It's so fleeting, so miserable.I am lost within your glare. So hello again my friend, ever-lasting companion."  The woman raised her hand to the door, resting above the handle, prepared to open it and face the messenger.

"It is me again. I am back with more. It is sad that the day has come today, to tell you news of woe."

Paper was pulled from his inner jacket pocket, almost falling to the cemented footstep in a startle as a fist suddenly met the door in a loud thud. It was caught easily enough, tenderly, like the life essence of whom was being referred to resided inside. There was a gutted cry shortly after the slam, which sent a shock of pain through his chest.  It was like nothing many had received before, but he felt it.  And yet, that is the sacrifice that comes with the duty.

"To say the one you loved died of frost," he continued, his voice getting louder with insistence to complete the message. "No, please, do not give me that stare. Hello, it's me again. I have also come to say that this is the end. You are the one I must abandon."

While he spoke the door whipped open.  A tear stained face looked back at the man; broken. No life glittered in her eyes, no pink smile lacquered with gloss.  It was all gone.  Gone, like her husband. Gone, like the security she thought she felt. Softly she spoke, slowly, dumbly, almost. Attempting to find a loose thread in a reel of thoughts to pull out.

"I'm- I'm sorry. Your words, they intrude. And I can't find out why they sting. It's disappearing, flaunting, malicious, almost. I am clouded inside your heart. Yes... I am sorry. My loved one, sweetest darling dear."

A hand reached out to the man, shaking, only to be rejected with the letter and a swift turn of his back. With his head bowed, he spoke to attempt a moment of clarity between the tears.

"I am sorry that my words be so prude. So base, they almost lie. So let me ring this final knell... for this death is daunting.  And for that, have become shrouded from fear at the start. Yes, I am sorry- but no more. I'm done. My eyes are now clear."

And with that he walked on, wiping his eyes before they could fall. He left the door open to the woman who wept on her knees with the letter clutched within her grap. Something once held so preciously, now gripped in a wrinkled mess.

Ship's Safe Harbor.

It is the way the rain falls; without care or precision. It just falls. Like the way your hands fell- Inanimate, while the color drained from your face. And I recalled the day you laid in bed with a half written smile. It was so full of stories, things you never shared, things I wanted to know about the world out there. Where the waves crashed against the boulders and the sea salt stung your face. You never told me about how the wind whistled in your ear of promise and adventure, nor how the sky, in its vastness, foretold the future.

You were so young when you started. Just a boy who didn't know any better, just knew that he had a calling. Didn't care about the tales of creatures or illness.  You had a heart made of glass that only grew more robust every time you landed along the shore with your feet digging into the hot sand.

Months, you disappeared. Without letter or word or thought to note your situation. Upon return, it was like you never showed; just a ghost to haunt the memories that still existed. But here you are, not a ghost, but not a man, either.  The rain is still falling and I remember how much you loved that rain.  Doesn't matter if the storm hit while on ship or while you chased those tides. The water in its various forms was yours and you could read it like the best of them.

Like that time you came home drenched and nearly caught your death. Yet you beamed with such enthusiasm. You smiled so wide and you waved your lantern and you cried out in a cheer that you were home.

But now you are here. The same curious light in your eyes has passed. The same ocean green that reminded me so much of those thunderous waves has faded. It is lackluster even though I try as I might to remember the life.  Every day you risked your life, catching whatever you could whenever you had to.  Not out of duty, not out of praise, but for the sake of wanting to feel alive.  To feel the adrenaline rush that comes with chaos and unknown.

No matter where you went you sought that excitement. Contagious, it was.  With a wide brimming grin, and a chortle that was infectious. You were unmistakable; everyone knew you.  Ironically, though, now you are alone.

You won't be able to travel the wide berth of water. You won't smell of salt, sweat, and blood.  But you are here. And you are home at last, where you won't fear being forgotten.  All your scares and frights are gone now because I will remember you and honor your light. No more will you fear being lost at sea, dying without the comfort of those who care.

Right now, you are safe.  In your ship's safe harbor.

Dearest Rose;

It was late. The clock dolled out a faint reminder.

1... 2... A.M.

Beneath its ancient rolls of sweet vibrato ringing throughout the walls of the home, plucked a man at a piano. He paused, taking in the serenity of the clock that so long kept his insanity in check. The stillness kept a quiet reminder as he leaned over to a cloth nearby to take a deep inhale. One second, two seconds, three seconds. The release was met with a roll of the eyes, a quick shudder and a glossy look at the score before him-- half written.

So he started from the top, as if a strangely new epiphany came over him. No longer was he dim, his entire body danced with a giddiness unlike him.

The cords struck, a melodic delore, as his body shuddered and wept. Large movements swept from one side of the piano to the other, slowly shrinking into a capriciosso. It is here he paused once more, breathing heavily. His eyes darted back and forth as if he no longer knew what he was doing. At a press of his hand, a mashed chord of sound came alarmingly to his ears. The stupor had finished, reminding him to take another inhale of the nearby cloth. Not as deep this time.

He went back studiously from where he thought he left off, as if telling a story he could never verbalize. A slow stumble at first until he recovered. His hands glossed along the keys as a red hue began to rise in his flesh. The dramatic movement had calmed, the notes turned flebile.

Tears now welled in his eyes. They fell silently in finality where he leaned over it, his body resting on the body of his instrument. His eyes were glossed over, a hazy cloud brought upon them. There was a smile of peace. He finally finished the letter he so long to have sent, despite the recipient never going to receive it.

"Dearest Rose... I miss you like the cyanide in my veins."

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings...

The night was quiet. There was no light to penetrate the darkness that settled in comfortably, as though it was owed promise.

A flicker of fire sparked, lapping at the air and biting the foreboding dark that surrounded it. It settled upon a candle, illuminating a cage with a white dove who cooed quietly in contrast. A small ring hung at its foot, clanking against the metal as it walked along its perch. It curiously ticked its head back and forth, watching the hands that lit the light rest on a set of organ keys.

There was a heavy sigh, and they pressed in beginning of its piece. Among the deep, sorrowful chords, was a voice, singing in time and pitch perfectly.

From the organ, were cables that reached to yet another cage, much larger than the one residing beside the instrument. Inside was the woman, naked. Her eyes watered with tears while she sang, the cables buried deep in her heart, her back, and stomach. They vibrated with every singing note, each one, hundreds of them, pulling and tugging to their human counterpart.

The song continued on in its laborious chords with hands deftly making the adjustments necessary to make a beautiful masterpiece. It swelled in volume and anguish, as did the woman. Blood fell from where the chords were placed, staining them while they slowly came out, ripping whatever came in their way.

A voice encouraged the woman to sing, to sing like the larks in the morning. To sing like she was meant to.
The piece came to a close, slowly, and the body fell, limp.

A man rose from the organ to the smaller bird cage, reaching a hand inside.

"I know why the caged bird sings... for freedom is just an illusion. The only freedom is that which we pray for. So, Come, Sweet Death. And may your birds be free and fly, like this sweet dove here."

And the bird flew without a word into the darkness that swallowed it whole, as not even the contrasting colors could remain a beacon of hope.