my heart is a canary in a cage, my hands those of a coal miner, sooty black and covered in callouses

i carry the cage in front of me, looking for signs of poisonous gas, when the canary dies i soon will follow, it’s a game we play every single day, walking the derelict shafts seeking something no pickaxe could hope to unbury

he tweets a happy song, unknowing of the danger in the ever tightening tunnels, or he just doesn’t care, happy to be out and about instead sitting and watching me sink into the haze of another disparate malaise

the bright yellow plumage, the vacant all black eyes, content to perch and watch the world pass by, my jostling steps nothing to him

i tried to drown it in booze, put it to sleep with pills by the handful

he is a survivor though

no matter how many times i gave him away, sold him for a moment of lust, a second of peace, an ounce of solace from the pickaxes and drills, in the arms of one beautiful jailer or another, perched on her shoulder and looking content

he always flew back to his rickety cage though

always singing


fluttering his wings that no matter how clipped still find flight

i could snap his little neck

crunch those hollow bones

smother it in my fist

but no

a little water, a handful of seed

nurture it

take it far from home

maybe this time it will lose it’s way

pass it off to another for a spell

and then bring it back into the mineshaft of repeated mistakes

an endless cycle of chirps and sludge

my heart is a canary in a cage, my hands those of a surreal murderer, callousness and careless misuse of time and commodity

i find myself whistling along

whistling alone

plucking feathers

she loves me, she loves me not, she hates me, she doesn’t know i exist

nothing but a nude little nugget

secrets and sins spilling out the fractured little beak in a trilling tuneless song

my heart is a canary in a cage i can no longer manage to maintain, looking for a good home where it will be fed and loved, where it can fly about unfettered

but we both know it’s destined for an unmarked shoebox in an abandoned lot, lined with newspaper and left to dry in the heat of another open flame

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