The Anatomy of a Bird

1. The Pupil

“Thank you for tutoring me,” she says. “I’m so worried about failing English.”

2. The Iris

Yet, you’re captivated by those sparkling blue eyes and you stutter a response: “D-d-don’t w-w-worry. Y-you’ll d-do fine.”

3. The Mantle

She removes her jacket and reveals a pink sweater.

4. The Lesser Coverts

Her body appears shapeless under the sweater’s thick knitting, and you wish she wore something more flattering.

5. The Scapulars

She sweeps her long, dark hair over her shoulders.

6. The Coverts

A small ear, adorned with a simple but elegant diamond stud, is revealed. You watch it twinkle until she catches you staring at her.

7. The Tertials

Blushing, you quickly turn away and open the textbook to review that day’s lesson.

8. The Primaries

After an hour going over figurative language, you both take a short break. She rises from her chair and pulls her sweater down below her waist.

9. The Rump

As she yawns and stretches her arms in the air, you gawk at her lower backside.

10. The Vent

You start to think about how close you would like to get to her. Your heartbeat starts to quicken, and your body starts to tingle all over. Then, as you always do when you’re nervous, you wrap your feet around the legs of your folding chair.

11. The Thigh

Your eyes follow her as she makes a slight turn and wanders toward the painting hanging on the wall.

12. The Tibio-tarsal Articulation

You start to stand up, but your foot gets tangled in the legs of your chair.

13. The Tarsus

You trip onto her chair. “Are you okay?” she asks as she hurries over.

14. The Feet

Once you free your foot from the sidebars, you dust yourself off, and you both laugh about it until you return to your seats.

15. The Tibia

She pivots her chair and crosses her legs as you are asking her review questions.

16. The Belly

Despite the shapelessness of her body in that sweater, you admire what’s underneath it — the curves that you have already memorized. But then you start to think about your own shape — and your own belly that protrudes beyond the waist.

17. The Flanks

And the flab that spill onto your side.

18. The Breast

But then she pulls down her sweater again, and her well-endowed chest provides the perfection distraction from your own flaws.

19. The Throat

And so does her long white neck.

20. The Wattle

While she is answering your questions, you start to pinch the flesh underneath your chin and arrive at the realization that she will never find you as attractive as you find her. As a result, you start to find flaws on her, such as her large jowls and her tendency to wear too much makeup, especially around the eyes. These flaws help to extinguish your desire for her, and you are able to finish the lesson without any further distractions. Once you are done, you can both part amicably until you see each other again at class tomorrow.

21. The Beak

You didn’t say anything to her before she flew away, and now you wish you did.

22. The Head

You slump in your chair and hang your head low … until the next girl arrives.


Originally published on tNY Press’ The EEEL on February 7, 2015.