Monday, April 21, 2014


If I had been performing similar work a century ago, I might have been occupied by the carving of detailed entries, in India ink, into an enormous ledger with a worn fountain-pen, laboring over each, and wondering at how my handwriting resembled copperplate in the morning, but approached the scratch of a hen by evening.

As it is, these fingers, once trained in nimbleness by Solfeggietto, shuffle listlessly by the end of the day across a bad-tempered keyboard, and then eventually cease their clatter. A blessed silence peers from between the petals of sunset.

I glance at the shelf, and touch a single feather, a gift of Finist, my bright falcon, with a sigh. I cannot say whether or not it will be granted to me to ever see him again.

Between shifts, his sisters visit me, zari-zarya, lights emanating not from dawn, nor from twilight, but from some other place and age: Eden's Alkonost, singing sweetly, she who draws a rosy veil around our wounds, mending them while we sleep; and Sirin, who flew out of Paradise, but has lost her way and is now nesting in a poplar tree nearby. It is the breath of music in Sirin's song of sadness that is most intoxicating of all--while I hearken, my shoulders, torso and palms burn and ache--from the gradual, inevitable emergence of an invisible plumage.

In fact, if I were released from my leaden chains for longer than each evening, or on the weekends, my mind might fill with such wine, I would not be able to bear the confines of my house--then I'd slide open an upstairs window--and--a hatchling passerine--slip out forevermore, into another and deeper vintage, the laughter of the wind.

Anastasia Grigorieva, Sirin

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