“The forecast is unfavorable for migratory flight. Blue envelops the past, thereby diluting the present hue; will the future be worth a telling. Moving towards the shore, one would wish for a city where blue is not categorized as a sad color and a body lying on the sand could motion the arms reproducing the carnival golden plumage of an angel. The prince of a Calvino fable wore canary yellow, unlike the canary sold to me in deceit. The bird exhibited flamingo feathers and I believed in a new hybrid species. I carried the cage, bird inside, and gave it as a gift to my grandmother who exclaimed: there are men drowning canaries and parakeets in tins of paint, don’t you know?”
She wishes to protest to Simorgh, the divine bird, under the pact of anonymity. They (the flock of birds that follow Simorgh on the quest to wisdom) ask: “why do you choose this language? You seem to go by foreign words and jeux de mots.” She says: “let’s redraw the maps and be truthful about the colors of birds. The day is soft in its bosom.” The birds fly on through the valleys, where they would readily take her. She is but a spot on beige sand to be lifted by an upside down beak of a bird head inverted.
She goes on to say:
“You look up. Astronauts who have been to the moon are dying and I remember the one I met in his cowboy boots with which he kicked my feet before saying “hi” to a fifteen year old southern
hemisphere red haired girl or woman did he know who I actually was.”
“The cold war era rested there; it is pure, translucent war these days. In place of flying dinosaurs, mechanical vultures represent aviary dominance. Nuclear threat is shrinking to the size of quail eggs. Chaffinches thrive in Chernobyl. I recall the space center’s control room and think of the heat of non-uniformed soldiers launching drones to release their offspring in a flash, the killings unbeknownst to them.”
She cannot forget a scene: “Not long ago, I witnessed a homeless woman mocking the city of blues. She knocked her head on the wagon’s pole, she screamed “fu*k me, nigger” “you are a black man with a big di*k, nigger” “would you like some syphilis, nigger? here have some.” She lowered her sweatpants. She was so dark inside. Out in space uterine darkness. She threatened me with her cane, which she could use to chase sparrows flown from in between her legs.”
There is weakness in her voice as she confides in Simorgh: “All my life I have been filled with fear. And now this. A fear of being as beastly as the homeless woman. The people, the clown, a circus of mental hygiene. Miserable animals are begging for a cup of coffee, caffeine free to avoid overexcitement.”
Simorgh’s companions tell her in haste to appease her afflictions:
“Nature does not always match colors and feathers perfectly. By the same token, poets mismatch words and bodies. You are so naïve to believe a bird seller or a poet that denies you verses or that the blue ocean could turn green in an instant. In the Amazonas Black River, you were mesmerized by the metamorphosis of pink dolphins into men dressed in suits with a whiteness shot by the moon. Back in the water, pink dolphins are meant to swim (and not fly) in clear water. Green turtles no longer reproduce male versions of themselves, their journeys finish at an isle of impossibility to incubate. Stale poems. One wonders of a place where lovers may land for perpetual abandonment. ”
She replies to Simorgh and the birds that follow the divine: “Poets, lovers, turtles, birds and astronauts succumbing in a mission to restore silence…” Simorgh boldly interjects: “Birds are fragments of godly recollections and they sing on.”
“Le poète assassiné” lies in front of her, to be read. There is Pamuk’s Red Haired Woman book as well and she remembers the writer’s exposé on the sorceress qualities of women born with red hair and that in the end he discloses that his brunette character actually dyed her hair, carrot red. She roams around the room, looking for a pad where she took notes on deceit, fur, capillaries, winged beasts and Poseidon oceans blue/green/white/amber, verses she could be proud of had she not lost them. She considers her poetic thoughts worth annotation, the universe of thoughts oh so enchanting assassins of poets et al.
“How wonderful!” said the Bird of Benin whose constructed statue of “nothing, like poetry and glory” fell to the floor in the manner of a saintly man’s pigeons. The Pope released a dove that hit the asphalt. A red haired sorceress had indeed warned of an epoch when pigeons would stop flying to, instead, walk among mankind. Madame de Krostrovitzka heard her son Apollinaire ask: “Is there nothing new under the sun?” “Nothing – for the sun, perhaps. But for man, everything.” “Alas, to seize the world of impossibilities where soldiers fight with electric bulb hands and zeppelins connect Rio to Berlin.”
Nonetheless, it is the feeling of a yellow canary drowned in orange paint in the hands of a mad man eager to barter a piece of nature that reminds her of how feeble she was at the whim of a poet with the heart of a fledling. “When my Grandmother fell ill, the canary died in her place within less than twelve months. The cage still hangs from the ceiling and remains with its door ajar, perhaps awaiting for Simorgh or me to be shoved inside by the assassin poet for whom the soul only does not suffice.” And yet through the mechanical genius of time, she predicts a futuristic vision superseding all other
images when wind blown zombie-zeppelins will migrate filled with dreams under a storm of blue confetti and she will touch her own carnival golden plumage of an angel. Simorgh will close the conference and declare: “there is no more to say”.
 Neurologists assert that the human brain does not have sufficient chemicals for passions to last longer than twelve to eighteen months. According to scientific data, a passion among humans expires in five hundred and forty nine days from its inception: green turtles may be falling in love with themselves, the twisted logic behind extinction.
 The Conference of Birds, Farid Ud-Din Attar
Katia Bandeira de Mello-Gerlach is a Brazilian fiction writer residing in New York City. Gerlach contributes to literary journals in Brazil and Portugal. and has a number of works published, some of which are found here.