This morning, I imagined that my memories were birds. Noisy creatures too many to count resting in some grey field ready to take flight.Even though they are leaderless and nondescript, this collective flock will somehow manage to perform another synchronized dance. A mass of starlings moving swiftly over my landscape:
Dead cat at the bus stop. Dad’ short term memory loss, cancer, MRSA, broken hip, and heart failure. Monopoly with Grandma Kitty in our kitchen. Step class without air conditioning at Gold’s Gym. Billy Idol on my yellow Walkman and on all of the walls of my L-shaped bedroom.Twenty-one inches of snow and our lost mailbox that March before detox. Arthur Miller’s autograph at a censorship conference. Peppi and his treat on a grey paisley comforter on our four poster bed. Nick’s pneumonia, Alex’s scarlet fever, and Kyra’s broken back. Hello Dolly on Broadway with Mom and Dad. Oyster course and wines of the world at 11 Madison NYC. Coffee in line at the Anne Frank House at 5AM. Gypsy moth caterpillars on oak trees in Mcguire Air Force Base. CAT scans and ultrasound appointments for Mom’s aneurism. Disney videos, Beanie Babies, Barbies, and Pokémon cards in boxes on a halfpipe in our basement. Ambulance ride to Miami Dade Hospital after Bob’s Grand Mal seizure. Dungeons and Dragons sleepover with Elizabeth and Irwin at my house behind the Highland Park Market. Selfies at La Sagrada Familia. Violet wallpaper and a canopy bed in a suite in Newport RI. Sled tied to Bob’s motorcycle on an unplowed cul de sac in Vernon. Drive by shooting during student teaching in Hartford. Wooden hanger stuck in knee after my shower. PAC Man at Aunt Cathy’s pizza place. 5th grade Nick pedaling his invention convention bike on the Ellen Show. Bob tuning his guitar on our brown leather couch with a pick in his mouth. Mom rolling pink foam curlers in my waist-length hair for a fashion show. Me burning a tiny hole in the front seat of my Oldsmobile with a Virginia Slim cigarette. Peeing my dark green corduroy pants during history class at Bennett Junior High School. Writing a poem in our UConn apartment for Bob’s best friend Paul’s funeral. Climbing the inside of the pyramid at Chichen itza after passing out earlier from the heat at the sacrificial pit. Eating strawberries pancakes and whipped cream at Rein’s Deli with Nana and Poppie. Walking Buffy through lawn sprinklers in August. Watching Back to the Future thirty-eight times at Showcase Cinemas. Hugging Winona and Steven in Orange Hall after Raheem’s suicide.
I try to visualize this murmuration as graceful and comforting; an all-flying-as-one Zen moment. But instead, I think about how I will continue to amass this beaked mob with beating wings, These formations that will bombard the predators as they build distance with a flurry of feathers, droppings, and vomit. A system of patterns poised on the brink, capable of near-instantaneous transformation–
that will eventually eclipse the sun.
Victoria Nordlund received her MALS from Wesleyan University. She teaches creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her work is published in Pank Magazine, Gone Lawn, Eunoia Review, Ghost Proposal, and Amaryllis. She is the 2016 NEATE New England Poet of the Year.
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