* * *
Pak City — Block A6, Fl. 9, Apt. #37
My smoke alarm chips through the night: low-
battery warbling. So my dream just has birds:
sickly birds demanding to be better, raw birds
that yearn to be cooked, fighting birds with boulders
for wingtips. The next day, I email the facilities account.
The email starts with “I hope this finds you
well.” I get a mirrored reply, which sinks on the wall
like a sunset. Five days later, they arrive, cage in hand,
but by now, I’m just a nest, and they, a collective, zip
around my apartment, scanning for any feathers
left behind. I don’t have the heart anymore
to tell them that they are five sleeps too late,
that the birds in me would throw themselves at
a glass window before opening for a new charge.
One of the repairmen — not the leader, never
the leader — understands my shrill quiet, and when
we are finally alone, we place our ears on each other’s
sternums to hear back steady chirping. It takes
a long time to remember what a word is.
When I finally can meet his eyes, there is no face
anymore, just a slender beak curving down like a bow.
* * *
Lis Chi Siegel is the co-founder and managing editor of sinθ magazine, a creative arts magazine by and for the Sino diaspora. She is currently based in the UK, though she was born and raised in San Jose, California.