A small feather floats, flutters,
moves across the garden, hesitates above the sago palm.
Then she sees the clay Pelican, recognizes her kind in his folded wings,
and slightly dizzy with relief,
oscillates in his direction.
Is it sunshine drying the haze, the moisture on her down
or the wake of a careless butterfly that carries her off course?
She sputters, falters and disappears in budding oleanders.
She skids down a sloping leaf on landing,
and I find her stuck in a Y.
Small, textured, humble, an ordinary muddy grey
or even lighter than that, dirty white,
she blinks, dazed by the drop.
I hold her tightly since she weighs nothing.
But I don’t need to.
Because the hooklets of her down cling to the grooves of my fingertips.
She holds my hand.
A sweetness almost not there since I can’t feel her grip.
Perfect curves, perfect fuzz, perfect visible presence,
unfelt in any other way.
She tells me something but the thought is light and elusive…
My eyes wander through the fluffy bits, along the rachis and to the tip,
I turn her over in the palm of my hand but I still can’t feel.
I close my eyes….
Perhaps there is a faint warmth where my life line breaks.
Where do you come from I ask.
She doesn’t answer; because she doesn’t have to.
I can create an answer, multiple answers in fact, either true or false.
She is like those thoughts floating in the canyons of our mind,
hanging on to the grooves, snagging in the ruts.
This disconnected feather in free glide is on an adventure.
She tells me that loose feathers often snag a lost thought or two between earth and sky.
Sometimes they are heavy, sometimes they’re light.
Sometimes they land on life lines, sometimes in a soup,
most often though, no one takes notice—
but it doesn’t change the adventure, she says.
And I can see she’s about to fly away again
as noises invade our space,
as the air begins to stir in the rising warmth…
Let me go she says, too many thoughts will make me still
and you think too many thoughts!
Give me just one light one and I’ll take it somewhere to grow.
Sounds good to me.
So in the jumble, in the hay stack
of my contradictions, conundrums, oddities, wishes, dreams, worries, nonsense, and useless bits of data, I find a wordless thought
and place it gently on the feather.
Then, my hand open to a stray draft, I let her go.
And she rises…
and flies away a smile.