One afternoon, when I was young, I found a swan’s feather by the shore of the boat pond, straight and white, the slight hard curve of a silhouette.

I bought an ostrich feather in midtown, in a shop filled with buttons and ribbons, froth and tumble of extravagant curls.

The peacocks running free at the cathedral leave unblinking eyes on the asphalt.

A friend of my father killed a turkey and sent the glossy black-barred tail feathers in a manila envelope, wrote I hope your little girl likes them. There must have been twenty of them, each an open warning, do not come near.

Something bright and yellow died by my grandmother’s glass window.

At the zoo, I reached down over the low fence, just a little, and plucked a guinea fowl’s discarded polka-dot feather from the mulched soil.

A bedraggled blue-jay feather, small and white-tipped, that must have fallen from close to the bone. It must have been in the rain, fragments broken from the weight of water.

My father brought me home the sleek sharp flight feather of a red tail hawk.

Stooped over, the sandy grey muck of the horse trail spilling over clunky white lace-ups with heels that lit up when smashed against the sidewalk, wispy white hair over my eyes, examining the smallest thing in my small hands. A feather, brown with light grey dots, a coral shaft that spilled over into the rosy splattered broken tendrils, and knowing a small feathered something had given up its flight, just here.

© 2018 Anna-Christina Betekhtin, All Rights Reserved.

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