Self Portrait, with Birds
My mother tells me a tiny bird flew in her open window on the day she went into labor with me and before going to the hospital she collected the bird in her palm, walked it outside and deposited it on the sidewalk where
“A cat ate it,” I scream, confusing this with another of her stories, that one about a pet parakeet who she let out of its bedroom cage planning to give it a brief and contained freedom, but forgetting she had opened a window in the apartment that morning, and the parakeet zipped right out, landed on the sidewalk (why not a tree, little friend?) and was killed instantly by a passing cat.
“No,” my mother says. “It flew away. Safe.”