Slice the meat against the grain, my mother says. She runs a finger along a groove in the purpling meat, marbled with fat. I nod as if I understand. What is the grain? Rifts in the meat run in every direction. I will never know why my father left. I will never know why you left today, too.
“Baw,” came the strangled cry outside my bedroom. I wasn’t ready to be awake but mind was already rising to interrogate the senseless sound. Baw? I rolled my body to face the window fogged with dirt and frost.“Baw, baw,” said the young crow from the leafless tree, its brown down sticking up all ends.
“It’s caw, you bird!” I say to the filthy windowpane.
Why hadn’t this bird’s parents taught it how to crow? Today, I am to represent the government against a three-year-old separated from his parents. The toddler will appear in court alone. The judge will ask him how he pleas.
“Baw, baw, baw” he’ll cry.
Staring at the wall clock as our trip winds down, my best friend’s ex-boyfriend says, “how can it already be seven when it was just six-thirty?”
“It was six-thirty for a long time,” my friend agrees. “But then it changed.” We all agree that we watched the minute hand move from six-thirty to six-thirty-five for at least an hour!
Next week, she goes in for a mastectomy. But first she has to take mushrooms with us…
In the park, we watch a pigeon strut across a crowded bike path. White with speckled grey wings, red-rimmed eyes and tender pink legs, the pigeon forces morning bikers to weave around her.
“Too beautiful to fly!” I say. “Too beautiful to die,” he says.
Di Jayawickrema is a Sri Lankan New Yorker currently living in Washington, DC. She teaches creative writing to youth, and organizes for migrant justice. Her work has appeared in Marías at Sampaguitas, Unbroken Journal, Flock, and other places. Find her on Twitter @onpapercuts