There’s a magic in them alleys. Where the moon fills with blood, and the margins of the city seep through cracks in the cement, opening the way for other things. How do I know? I’ve seen things; felt the whoosh of air from beating wings and the tickle of fear on my neck.
See, I do a sort of…business from the shadow places between buildings. One such night, after goods were bought and sold and I was alone with my coins, there was a hiss of steam, a whisper of fluttering wings behind me. A beak clicked. It was a bird with wings the color of many fires and the blackest of eyes. I heard its sorrowful voice in my head. “Darker times are coming. I have sown the seeds of war and hate into the fertile ground of this earth. Water them or destroy them. It is a choice for your kind.”
The coins in my hand slipped from my grip, ting, tinging to the ground as the mighty bird took wing and rode the updrafts from the alley vents, soring higher into the midnight. I thought it all a dream until a yellow feather drifted down from the sky. I caught it in my hand. And all the sorrow thrown about by the firebird went away.
The yellow feather lit up, lit me up—inside and out—if I’d never felt hope before, I feel it now, warm and sweet like the hot chocolate my nanny made when I was a wee one. I carry that feather, now and always, offering its hope to any who will listen to my story. Are you listening?
This image and more of Carmen’s photographic prints and merch are available for purchase at Fine Art America.