on feathers and paint.

I have the most beautiful bird house in my bathroom, sitting directly next to my electric toothbrush. In it lives a small yellow bird: I believe she is some sort of sterling that has accidentally been painted yellow from a slight miscalculation while flying low over a freshly painted center line of a city street. No matter, she dodges in and out of my bathroom with dexterity and something close to acrobatic wit. Sometimes I think I can feel in my skull the moments she joins other birds in a murmuration or some otherwise dense cloud of cascading wings. 

She usually leaves on outings while I brush my teeth, when the vibrations from my toothbrush make her wings silent and any sort of peep she makes in the way of a courteous goodbye, disappear into mimed action. It is only as she hops out onto the peg-doorstep of her home that I notice her feathers are a bit clogged with paint and that her head alone is a fresh helmet of grey/brown feathers; delicate and laid down like salmon presented on ice at a fish mongers booth who believes all things, at some level, look like scales of a fish.

I believe the sound of the vibration of my toothbrush is a lot like her experience among the swarm of other birds. It is complete but also disorienting; a ritual that maybe only appears to be fun. 

After she leaves, and my toothbrush has stopped making small explosions in my thinking, I wonder if she worries about her dry-paint coat; this is pretty much the only point of reference I have of her life outside of my bathroom. I know that story of the center line of the city and sometimes feel like we are deeply connected through this knowledge. But our relationship is a bit like a constant stream of generic Thank You notes that I’m trying to make matter.

At night I try to pass on some bubbling words in between the suds of a toothpaste mouth; my teeth dishes in a sink overflowing with too much soap and hot water. She peers at me with removed interest and hops twice on her peg before disappearing into her cedar home.

The other night I realized, for the first time, that my thoughts don’t fly like I once thought.

They drift and bob.

A bit like seals in kelp forests, surfacing to catch glimpses of the sun.