They are as neat and as tidy as can be expected, the ticking clean, clear of blemish or stain, with wee, blue and white flowers, her favourite colours, the two of them sit like that, one atop the other at the head of the bed, high up on the left, as far into the other corner as they can be, as if apologetic for taking up space.
They’ve been there for days now. I keep walking by, wondering if I should keep them, despite the whiskers of tiny, fine feathers poking thru here and there. I think of the down, how soft it is, keep wondering how many nights and generations have rested there, dreamed there, tossed and turned, wrestled with angels there.
I pat and stroke them when I pass by, as if I’m expecting to make up the bed again, as if I can snap the pillowcases and everything to attention before I draw them up, make the bed again, like I’m efficient and together instead of wanting to collapse there and never, ever get up.
Truth be told I’d like to gather them up, one under each arm maybe, and with a huge, long, sharp knife tucked into my belt, I’d climb that hill, the one with the shimmering pond at its feet, and once there, I’d sit with them for a while, cry out the pain there, maybe, I mean other than the lovemaking isn’t that what they’re for, and I’d cry there instead of here with this pen and this book like a madwoman, I’d cry there.
I’d tell them where everything went wrong and how I was always too late or too little to fix any of it, and then when we were all ready, in agreement that I would be like Abraham with his twin Isaacs, only not really, then I’d take the feather pillows, hold them up high, high, take the knife and, howling, cut them from stem to stern, cut the feathers free, flying dancing into the wind laughing and I’d paper the world in down, I’d paper the world with their feathers, for all of us who fall, for all of us who are falling, for all of us who are fallen.