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  1. I feel terminally empty. I wish, for once, that I wasn’t who I was right now. I look around and their are others like me, some are different colors, others a different size - but none of them are alone. I don’t feel that fluttering inside me anymore. I never thought I’d be so bonded to her. She could be messy and careless at times - but I loved her so very much. There had been others before her; in fact sometimes there was more than just one. I didn’t like having two - but sometimes it ended up that way and I didn’t have the ability to fuss about it. This one was always happy, she had a presence about her that was irresistible – even to small children. Colorful was a word I often heard people say when describing her - and she liked that description. At night, under the covers - we would talk about where we came from and how we hoped to be together forever. She was a rare bird this one - she’d came over to the United States from some village in Venezuela. I felt pretty smug when we ended up together. She was restless in the beginning and it was incredibly annoying. I just wanted her to settle down and relax. Later, I realized that the restlessness was really restlessness - but rather --this was who she was and as tiny as she was - she filled me up so completely. Others would complain that I made them feel caged in and oppressed – but not her - she just chirped of how lucky she was to be with me, how safe she felt; and how, other than that small village in Venezuela, my core was the only place where she felt like home. I never tried to make those others feel caged. They could never see the big picture - they could never see that I couldn’t change - I felt I was doing the job I was born to do. When the others left - I felt relieved; and sometimes it would take me a mere minutes to forget I was alone - I’d find solace and comfort in the silence. No more hen-pecking about what I was doing or how smothering I could be. Then there was this one - the one that is gone now. She always told me that others wouldn’t be as charmed by her as I was - that I saw a different side of her - that others didn’t see at first glance. I don’t think this was exactly true - when others would come around - she’d really show her colors. Oftentimes she would act as if she wasn’t trying to be so show-y. I guess she didn’t want me to know that she longed to get out. I knew she deserved better than me - she had a future outside this place - she was the kind that you’d find in the home of some rich, well to do fella. Even if he wasn’t rich - he would have to be an entertainer - someone who could show her off and say the things that I couldn’t say, take her to the placed I never could. But now she is gone and all I have is this silence. There is no space as empty as the space in the center of whom I am and what I use to be. I’d cry if I could, I’d break down right now if I had the heart that she had - but I don’t and, instead, I just keep hanging around this place where it seems I never leave. She knows I won’t come for her - she knows that isn’t something I”m going to do. So I grieve for her often - waiting for her to come back when I know she will not. At night, under a white sheet, my heart flutters when I remember her chirpy voice and her beautiful wings and I imagine that we are together again - perhaps in some heavenly place where I’m not who I am and she is still who she is - we will be together - me and my Venezuelan bird.

    [creative writing exercise wherein you are writing from a bird's point of view - like a bird in a cage that has lost your mate]
  2. Hunger is a shy, sad color, that most of us choose not to see. It is shameful and shouldn’t be; it’s a head down, shoulders slumped kind of color, powerless and life consuming for those unfortunate enough to live with it. The color is that of wet coffee, with the texture of thousands of tiny grounds, gritty and collectively overwhelming. It is damp color; not a wet color. It isn’t night - but it isn’t day either. It isn’t the beautiful fall leaves - but the moist, bug bearing soil beneath those leaves and the chill in your bones that won’t go away. This is the color of hunger.