the sparrow cannot fly.

I was listening to the first 5 minutes of this, on repeat.

I place my hand on my chest. My heart clamours out of its place, too scared of its own beat.

If you look closely at my chin, you’ll see a jagged arrow pointing straight to my heart. I got it when I tumbled, aiming for the stars one day.

I have a moon-shaped birthmark on my collarbone with its own star. There’s a universe of freckles mapped out on my back. It draws different planets, stars, and solar systems colliding together at the heat of my skin.

But now my shrivelled skin forms a sparrow-shaped scar. It carries itself left of my breasts, in the corner beneath the arches of my arm, above my hip.

The sparrow cannot fly. I cannot teach it new tricks.

My voice, barely audible anymore, shivers between two mirrors. There it is. There it goes. And there, above cells, plasma and tissue — there, on a fickle plate of truth and illusion: There it lingers.

There are things I cannot tell you anymore. In my mind, nothing more than illusion seems farther than the truth. But there they are, and there they go — together in one breath. There it says, underneath it all, there can be no more truth than illusion. And there, on that same fickle plate between illusion and truth:

There it will remain.

I don’t know what to tell you anymore. There are words of strength I no longer can repeat to myself. I hum to myself a tired song of sunshine. I tell myself: You will pull through. You always do. But ‘always’ is illusion. There is no constant in time, and ‘always’ is an unreliable protagonist.

The truth is, I am crippled by fear.

I am afraid that every time I see my reflection in the mirror all I’ll be able to see is a sparrow-shaped scar, left of my breasts, in the corner beneath the arches of my arm, above my hip.

Help me see myself. I haven’t survived this. Not yet.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.