Bad to the Bone: A Guide to Ornithology Feng Shui by Cheryl Markosky

Swallow – new beginnings

He told her he created sculptures from the tiny bones of birds. A skeletal artist with downy hair manipulating goldcrest-sized tweezers.

She told him he could stroke her avian-like cheekbones. Trace her fine framework with his claw-clasp fingers.

Mandarin duck – harmony

He told her their love was bone-deep. Birds of a feather migrate together.

She told him she wanted to nest. Incubate an egg until the stork comes.

Rooster – masculine yang

He told her he must fly blind. Fly into a rage. Fly the coop.

She told him she was a songbird stuck on a verguette: a twig covered in glue. A death trap.

Phoenix – rebirth

He told her he must cut to the bone. Carve her breastbone and shoulder blade. Work his way past her pelvis, down to her tarsals, metacarpals and phalanges.

She told him she’ll nestle-hide among the rosemary bushes and wild asparagus. Listen to the dawn chorus.

Peacock – wisdom

He told her he had to fly in the face of love. Harvest her bones for art’s sake.

She told him she’d become flightless, with vestigial wings.

Crane – long life

He told her he’d skin and mount her in summer foliage. Conserve her carcass.

She told him that all will be left is feathers.

He’ll lose his habitat.

Get caught in an oil spill, a wind turbine.

Be hit by a car, devoured by a feral cat.

Electrocuted on a high tension wire.

Blasted out of the sky by la chasse.

An extinct species.

Bad to the bone.

Cheryl Markosky’s a Canadian-born freelance journalist of Italian/Polish origin, splitting her time between the UK and the Caribbean island of Nevis. She’s written for various newspapers and magazines, and ghost-written two books. New to the world of flash fiction, she’s been attending workshops run by Jude Higgins and Nancy Stohlman.