Love is a Harpy

by Darby Mitchell


Yes, I see by the laughter that bubbles up in you,
By the sparkle in your eyes,
By the gentle curve of your lips,
By the lilt and bravery in your step,
That Love has come to you unawares and made a nest in the topmost branches of your soul.

There are two reasons for this:
One: You have forgotten that Love is an enemy,
Two: You have been complacent.
Instead of sleeping, you should have been watchful.
If you had been watchful, you would have posted stern, armed sentries facing out from the base of the tree in at least four directions.
Or, you would have protected your soul with a net,
And once Love trespassed the net, you could have strangled it.
Or, you would have set poison traps around the base of the trunk —
Poison in little mirrored bowls —
That would have entranced the bird
With its own image,
So that when it lowered its eyes to drink,
It would have drowned.
And if none of that worked, you would have set fierce metal traps at a further perimeter to all the pretty little bowls,
So that even one step within a 100-mile radius of the tree
Would have cleaved to the teeth of a trap,
And the bird, its legs broken, would have starved to death.

(For kindness’ sake, you could have posted the property: ***NO TRESPASSING***)

But you didn't.
Because you didn't think this could happen to you.
After all, there are a hundred other trees in the forest where such a bird could light.
There was no special reason why the bird would choose your tree to nest in, and not another.

But it did.

I don't have the power to take the bird away.

However, I can offer you remedies:

You can try ignoring it,
But, like a newborn baby, it's noisy, stinky, destructive, and demanding.
Barring that,
You can try pruning the entire tree right down to the ground,
And then you can call in a root grinder to extirpate it out of all existence.
Barring that, you can burn the tree down.
But I tell you a new tree will only grow out of the ashes of the old tree,
And the same bird, new-born, will only again find its long way home.



[Author’s note] Harpies are humungous, unnecessarily cacophonous and raucous and noisy, and terrible, and frightful, wildly flapping flying creatures with really nice-looking iridescent feathers, offset by dreadful, hooked beaks and skracky claws.


Copyright © 2010 by Darby Mitchell

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