Yesterday, just as I finish my post on Ma’s rough night working the suicide prevention hotline at the Switchboard, a tiny grey bird commits suicide against us. In the middle of winter in Florida, she slams into the house just outside our dining room window. At full speed and full of life until the end, she flies as if she were taken by the sky or love and blinded by the promise of heaven.
Like a freaking bullet, ma says. Then she finds the light. At least she tried, I say. Tries to find her path to heaven.It is such a beautiful day. We are listening to Stevie Nicks sing “Rhiannon” on YouTube.
Now she is the darkness, ma says. And she ruled her life like a fine skylark, I say. Now the sky is starless. The sky is insanely blue and the clouds are hiding.
Ma and I pick up Rhiannon–the cats lying in wait in the dark– and we prepare her final resting place beneath the palm trees in the backyard. The ants have already found her. We clean her off. Tuck her wings in. Close her eyes.
Finally, ma says, I’ve seen a woman truly taken by the wind.
Ma kicks the shovel into the earth with her right foot. Then the left. Then turns the soil until there’s a six inch hole. The shovel is blue. Rhiannon is gray. The soil too.
Today, we will be her lover, ma says, and we will stay by her side forever. I believe ma, but I don’t believe in forever.
Ma lowers Rhiannon into the shallow grave and then covers Rhiannon’s body with soil. What were you thinking, ma asks Rhiannon. Love’s just a state of mind. Rhiannon doesn’t respond to ma from the depths of her final resting place. She can’t, anyway, even if she wants to. She just lays there beneath six-inches of earth. In peace. In solitude. And probably believes that she has finally won.