I was a bird in your gilded cage,
And you never let me forget it
“See how the gems sparkle?” you’d say, as the tears stained my feathers
“See how the gold gleams?” you’d whisper, as the chains cut and weighed my legs
“Free birds are jealous of you,” you’d sing as you locked the door.
When the Birdkeeper found me
I was afraid
Because I had been found before.
I knew the routine
I had been held
I had been on display
I had miserably pranced in the hand of the Fowler.
But day after day,
The Birdkeeper’s hand signaled
Not for entertainment
But for companionship.
I did not trust him.
I suspected his kindness, like all things, would come at a cost
I was accustomed to exchanging liberty for solace.
Then one day,
the cage door opened rather resolutely
And to my surprise,
The bird keeper did not summon me.
Frightened and enthralled, I hesitated.
Do I even remember how to fly…for myself?
I teetered at the edge of the gilded cage,
Expecting to be stopped at any moment,
As if the illusion of freedom was all a cruel joke;
Slowly spreading my wings in apprehension.
With a push, I flapped awkwardly,
Frantically around the room;
The Birdkeeper did not try to stop me.
He did not become angry,
He did not shout,
He only sat, graciously, and observed
As I soared.
I came to rest atop his gentle hand
As he stroked my feathers,
he leaned in and whispered,
“You’re free now.”
I sat perched in disbelief
It was then I realized
was nothing like Fowler.