Fly Away, Sorrow Birds

They come at you so softly. They are already upon you when you feel them.

Sorrow birds.

A big flock of sorrow birds live in Wongoondy, at Waratah Way. They are roosting in Lena Wilder’s heart.

Lena has a secret she has not bared to a soul, and it eats her up inside because nobody will ever understand her. But if she tells, no one will believe her.

The sorrow birds are the dull black of ashes and hideous to look at. They are hunched and misshapen, with loose skin hanging from their eyes, and razor sharp beaks that cut and slice. They lurch and hop and peck at carrion and warble like metal grating on stone. Just seeing one will make you feel pitiful.

They are not like magpies. Shiny things and glittery things dissuade them. They listen in the wind for sounds of disputes and set off hunting. They circle hurt people. People with hunched shoulders and heads down. People sitting alone on park benches. They dive into the hearts of these people and feed. You can’t see it, but you can feel it; when sadness expands into utter hopelessness, or when you go cold inside. As they feed the sadness expands. The blackness takes over.

They come out at twilight, the most bewildering hour.

This twilight, Lena is pacing her back garden, a square block of sand with a few tufts of grass and some pots of wilting petunias.

She is thinking about him.

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Malina Douglas

Malina Douglas is a writer, poet, and artist. She enjoys weaving words into bright tapestries, emerging as stories that are imagistic, transformative, and thought-provoking. Stories that leap into your mind, dance across the dew-wet grass and leave a bright residue. She has published in Indigo, A Western Australian Journal of Writing, Every Second Sunday, A Seoul Writers' Anthology, and the Jungle Age, a website for writers. She lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, where she is an active member of OOTA, the Out of the Asylum Writers Group.

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