on a species of bird that doesn’t fly away

how can we prepare to set off, or can we rely on the routes already written, the maps already drawn, endlessly picturing the road ahead. last night, we walked into suspended moments, when a lost bird drifted around the house, we listened to the breath of the outside sigh in time to the hammock sway, a few moments of silence gathered in the chest, and I couldn’t breathe, the tangled images, my fingers in your hair, sometimes they tell me they are the alluvium in dried-up riverbeds from years ago, remembering nameless water weeds, and that nostalgia brought them here, diving into your hair as you wash it in the afternoons, in the corner of the red brick yard, sometimes they sing along with the stream, nearly inviting a step towards the sea, the direction of the vast, I reply there is vastness in every direction, wait, don’t distract me from this baby bird’s flight, I am watching it find its way out, but it keeps flapping its wings around the summit of the mosquito net that covers my father, on and on, right in your line of sight, revealing tufts of golden belly feathers, not a goldfinch nor a flowerpecker, I think, and without crying out in panic it keeps circling, circling, I remember an alternate route, somewhere I hid a map leading to Yunnan, where three rivers flow in parallel, one juts down to the southern region, the Mekong, south of Yunnan, also south of me simply because I was born in the north, oh then I’ll name the fingers hiding in your hair heartwards, where tears overflow, I rummage for the map to Yunnan, and realising I’d kept it in an old chest and named the chest loss, I briefly panicked, is this looking for loss, yes, like fingers hiding in your hair, I am the alluvium, and just then, the flap of the baby bird’s wings breaks my long reverie, when I look back, realising how long it’s been since my father’s loss, I freeze in this moment, why hasn’t the bird flown away?