Birdlike. Flitting? Bouncy? Do I float? “It’s that you’re light. You peck at your food. Hollow bones.”
“My bones aren’t hollow.”
“No,” he shakes his head. “No, I know they’re not. But it is like they’re hollow. You know. Like a bird.”
He shrugs. “Sure.”
I imagine him dying.
I imaging taking one of my chopsticks and turning it away from the deep-fried tofu and towards him. I see myself forcing its dull tip into his chest, breaking beyond errant bones and stringent skin, plunging through to his heart. Maybe both chopsticks? I am diving in and sawing at his heart, using the sticks as knives, picking up juicy bits of his heart.
“Your voice, too” he says.
“Sing-songy. See, you just asked a question there.”
“Well, I didn’t know.”
“But your voice goes up and down. Like a melody that doesn’t mean anything.”
I put my chopsticks down. Suddenly, I don’t feel like Chinese food. I don’t feel like food. I want to keep eating because I’m afraid that he’d continue the metaphor, but I can’t eat. His heart blood is all over the eggplant and tofu, the steamed brown rice, the noodles, it’s on everything. I can’t tell what’s red pepper and what’s him. I cannot eat this. I say: “You remember that chant? About the bird? ‘Fly away home. Your house is on fire. Your children are alone’.”
He asks: “Do you want children?”
I think about the term ‘fall out of love with.’ I had always called bullshit. I never believed that people can fall out of love like people could fall in love.
But here I am. Falling as if my wings are clipped.
DeMisty D. Bellinger lives and teaches in Massachusetts. Her chapbook, Rubbing Elbows, is available at Finishing Line Press. She has a husband and twin daughters, but wants a cat, too. Her website is demistybellinger.com.