Taken By Birds

I was sitting in my tenth-storey apartment, working on a symphony, when the hawk burst in—

Through the window—

glass exploding, and the bird cutting itself so that it sprayed blood, like a boxer walloped in the jaw, every time it ruffled its feathers.

To say I stood up would be an understatement.

I leapt!

The bleeding bird approached, and I approached, and at some point it started getting dark, and when I looked outside I saw hundreds of birds at the window, blocking the sunlight, some of them coming into the apartment, others hideously squawking. They made so much wind with their flapping, my papers began flying around.

I tried to shoo them out, but they attacked me: their claws—their beaks—

I backed away—

Tripping on a chair, flipping over, trying to crawl toward the door…

That’s when they acted.

Landing on me, pecking at my clothes, ripping—tearing away material, until they exposed my whole back.

Then they dug their talons into me: pain like getting caught on a hundred fishing lines: hooks penetrating skin, anchored in flesh…

Flapping furiously, they lifted me off the floor—

And we flew out the window!

I thought I was going to die, that they were going to drop me there and then, and I prayed and screamed and imagined what I looked like from the street.

But they didn’t drop me.

Up we flew, higher and higher majestically above the city, betwixt skyscrapers and below planes, over parks, through clouds, and all the while some sat on me and pecked me—not my clothing, my flesh!—pulling strips of me away, raw bleeding strips, most of which went down their gullets but some of which escaped their ravenous intentions and fell…

to the city below…

—and I felt it all: I was the body flying and the chunks digesting and the bits going splat on asphalt and umbrellas.

I hurt and I rotted.

I saw the city and I was eaten up by stray cats.

I rolled into sewer grates.

I survived.

Until there was less and less of flying me, almost just a skeleton, picked clean; until—

I wasn’t flying at all.

Time passed; consciousnesses dwindled; and I was but one small chunk of meat drying out on someone’s windowsill.

The window opened.

I slid in, down the wall onto the kitchen counter. I recognized a plate of raw meat and hid among them.

I was fried.

Sizzling on the frying pan in pain.

I was placed upon a plate by a woman and slid toward a man, who licked his lips, lifted knife and fork and sliced and ate me.

How horribly be chewed!

In his mouth, I went round, then down his throat, washed down with cabernet.

I thought I was ended.

But as his juices digested me, I realized I was entering his blood, in which his body pumped me to his brain and—

“What are you doing?” the woman asked.

“Composing music,” I said.