“Flight Cage” by Maya Nordine

How overjoyed I was, to hear 
her squawking stop
so suddenly. She’d boarded
after me, birdcage in hand. 
Then, after the ascent, three 
squawks. Maybe two. 
Anyone on a plane, I’ll tell you, 
can’t stand the sound. 
I’d heard of puppies 
dying overhead, the change 
of pressure too much 
for their little lungs,
but birds? She reached over,
lifted the cage to her face
to peek between the thin, 
black wires. Gave it 
a small shake. A few 
feathers were shed, 
clinging to the cage’s frame,
but that could have meant 
anything. Only when she stood
to walk to the back of the plane—
carrying her sudden grief,
the still, yellow bird—
did I see her face, watching 
her house, and everything 
inside it, burn.

Maya Nordine lives in sunny Chicago, Illinois, where she runs a virtual writing workshop called Study Hall. She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. Her work has been published in bath magg, The American Journal of Poetry, Small Orange, Door Is A Jar, and TYPO.

Featured Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash