A Wing And A Prayer

They were tired of being harnessed to little golden boxes that were engraved with myths and fables.  Weary of their lives as painted automatons, they sought escape from tiny dungeons laden with springs and suspensions.  Yet for all their longing, they remained trapped beneath covers heavy with enameled stories.

And when those covers were lifted, they would revolve around metallic lakes like sad stars.  They sang the one song that was wired into their bodies by jewelers holding needles and razors.  And it was frustrating – for what did a man who split diamonds and steal pearls from gaping oysters know about singing?  How could he know about the sting of cold air cutting through one's wings; the DNA-driven desire to fly magnificent, exhausting distances; the terrible yearing for the powdery clouds and fish-scented oceans – to find a home in the dark, piercing trees?

They wanted to leave their pretty prisons.  Trapped by a delicate industry, they longed to see beyond the dressing table's vista; to fly away from the mirror's vast horizon; to avoid the mechanical prancing of a stranger's imagination.  But there was an anatomy to their wishes that was as complex as the arabesques decorating their despised homes.

However, desire can be stupendous and endless:  like the earth, like the sky.  It can be very strong.  So on the morning when the music box was opened once more, to the owner's surprise it was silent.  Slender wires and chains lay like unattached jesses after the falcon has gone to sleep.

And this explains the remarkably tiny birds I saw one morning, dancing through the branches, singing of their gratitude, making the leaves flutter with joy.

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7 responses to “A Wing And A Prayer

  1. I will never see a jewelry box the same way again

  2. lovely Aubrey. My favorite line is "…"for what did a man who split diamonds and steal pearls from gaping oysters know about singing?"I like the twist in the end where the narrator has seen the miniature birds singing. Lovely work!

  3. beautiful, and with a wonderful ending!I want to see these collected into a book. Tales of Aubrey.

  4. yes to all the comments. lovely prose, as your peeps have come to anticipate from you, and an ending that soars.

  5. The ending is heavenly.

  6. "like unattached jesses after the falcon has gone to sleep"…….
    Lovely. Freedom described yet from an almost bearable prison. A gilded cage still being a cage of course.
    Kevin and I had an automaton music box when we lived in LA. Russian silver with Portugee porcelain panels. When it opened a hound and cherub of silver played a long horn, twirled around and 10 matching trap doors opened with a painted panel inside each. They twirled back on themselves and left with a silent snap. You had to play it over and over because the snap at the end was so final and you really didn't want the song to be over.

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