Within and without my walls

I bought the apartment because it was gated.  The walls too high to scale.

The building next door was Victorian brick.  I noticed the name ‘Booth Museum of Natural History’.  I knew nothing of the inmates – the formaldehyde and glass eyes.  The dusty feathers.  The smooth gear change as I pulled away in the morning, the swish of the gates as I returned – I knew that.  Maybe sometimes, arriving home, I caught the curl of a blackbird’s song through my car window.  Pepper in the gloaming.

One long, light evening of June I stood alone at the kitchen window.  Looking down I saw, for the first time, the door in the side of the museum.  A broad door.  Burgundy paintwork, cracked on the panels.  A mesh of cobweb at the hinges.  No admittance.  And no exit now, leading as it did to the high wall of my block.

I woke to heavy summer rain.  As it eased I heard the birds.  The chorus.  The promise of a fine day.  Hand hovering over the kettle I paused – looking down.  The door pushed wide, washed clean.  Pouring from it, birds of every kind.  Redshanks and Kittiwakes.  Soft barn owl babies hop hopelessly after their soaring mother.  A row of gannets decorate the drainpipe like plaster busts.   A burst of tiny, fat twitterers tumble by.  The sky is a collage of feather and beak.  Rippling, rising and falling, within and without my walls.

© Allie Rogers 2013

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