ornithophobia or fear of being carried away by birds i am walking on a length of floss. yesterday, i took my shoes off & stored them in my head. believed my crazy was becoming a new person. the outlines of strangers always have wings & in my conversations with the hat man he says i have nothing to worry about except for birds. birds do not run in my family but once i saw my youngest brother standing on a ledge & trying to fly. when some people leap they become doves & others become asterisks on the ground. i am alarmed by my body & what it asks for. necklace of teeth. grubs with their windowed organs. i am less afraid of where they'll take me as i am of the leaving. i imagine the world beneath my like a beach ball. swallowing helium, i could just become my own balloon. one of my friends says birds were designed by the government to watch us. my fear is not contingent on whether or not a bird is natural. if i'm honest though there is a sliver of desire. i want to see my life in minitature. i want to sell all my clothes & wear a lovely uniform given to me by the bird president. who can i go to for permission not to think at all today? i am least worried about ducks because i have seen their wood hearts. watched as my mother carved them by the side of a mucky river. song birds on the other hand. they have a library of voices. once a blue jay opened his mouth to tell me i didn't love him in the voice of my abuser. i covered my ears & hurried briskly into a bathroom. bathrooms are of course the only place i am safe. that's where the hat man keeps his wisdom. where the mirror is also a watering hole. elephants come. i dip my face. drink as deep as i can. make promises to myself that i will not & cannot keep. "you will nail your feet to the dirt" "you will not cover your head as you run into the ivy" " you will stop collecting feathers as evidence."