For Sarah

Once upon a time, a hummingbird witnessed her mate being sewn into the folds of a gown for the grand ruler of the time. He was to wear it on Wednesdays.

The seamstress’ stubby but swift fingers rearticulated the bird’s warm body and threaded silk along his edges, lacing him up and against and over and under some other others’ loves. Seeing his mate, he saved his singing until the woman left the room for some business or other. Then he opened his beak and painted his feelings for her into the air, into her memory. Together they flew in this imagined landscape. When he finished, the dalmation next door twitched its nose. Something hung in the air.

Not a jot of blood marred the velvet pile, the woman was profoundly skilled. She packed up her needles and tutted to herself as she thought of the little grandson she’s be able to see soon. He’d his father’s eyebrows.

Colour didn’t drain out of the hummingbird’s world. Floods invaded her vision. Greens and blues of sky and earth slid in and out of frame. The blind cold in her chest drove her to fury which drove her to despair which pushed her to a kind of madness.

He wore the gown for a month of Wednesdays and cried for the loss of his seamstress.

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