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Da! A bag of emaciated pain lay silently in a corner,
slowly seeping through the floorboards.
Around a trestle in the centre of the room,
a gaggle of beaks cawed their way to prominence.
The Elder broke through the din, "Poor pickings.".

A heavy silence fell, 
                              then hung suspended,
                                                             gently swinging.
The Elder continued, "There’s a risk of
damage to her brain and reproductive organs.".
Wings fluffed and spread.
"She needs feeding," croaked a Younger.
"For her own good.  To serve her right."
A cloak of silence spread amongst them,
a conspiratorial hush that clogged in their feathers.
They began to preen.
Other members of the parliament came
and picked her up, scraped her off the floor,
and carried her to Care in the next room.
Care forced tubes into her, up her,
puncturing membrane.
She started to bleed from pulsing perforations.
A crowd watched from the other side,
peering through frosted glass. 
They were cold. Their blood ran cold.
She mouthed disembodied screams,
as her tears iced. She glanced over. 
Care nodded calmly to the crowd.
"We do what we can."
He inserted the contents of a syringe into her.
"Only a small drop. To help her carry the burden.
It’s only right."
A fragile vessel,
she floated further away.
Care turned the syringe upside down.
"Gone.  And so little."
Acquiescence settled vice-like on her arm,
as she attempted a defiant gesture.
"No, my dear.  No need to wave anymore.
They’ve gone."

Battle fought. Da!
She lay back down to drown.
"We’ll turn the glare off soon. 

We’ve just got to make sure you’re safe. 
In control."
She throbbed as quietly as she could.
Chains rattled somewhere in the distance.
"Oh, the trucks have arrived.  Excuse us
while we unload."
With the scorch-light off, she faded again,
back to the smudges and the margins.
Her pain roared on, deafening the silence.
She seemed to be leaking from everywhere,

trickling away.

Blood, vomit mingled and streamed as she gagged.
Only the pain remained constant,

and the echoing platitudes.
She waited . . . waited . . .
Later, they came back, carrying a giant set of scales.
Gleaming in the blinding light,

it glowered down over her,
weighing her precarious balance.

Her mind screamed onto one of the weighing pans,
hazily drifting in scrapes of consciousness.

Something felt heavier than gravity.
She made out a date on the stainless device:
her birthing. A time when she felt 
the enormity of her crime was less pressing
- whatever she’d done; whatever had happened.

A mercy of sleep descended.

Then, piercingly, screeching,
a great beak tore through the curtain
of her confinement and rent her petrified again.

She knew before being pecked and plucked
that she would have to submit to the inevitable.
She had been clipped long ago. 
She lay grounded.


Eventually, she broke.
- and so did her waters.
As the Elder had said in the other room,
she carried no weight.

But in the thrust of spun expulsion,
the stainless device had simply dissolved away.:
And in now carrying no weight, no pull,

she carried no burden, no fleshly expectations.

Emergent water now cascaded from slimed walls
over new-grown scales that didn't weigh,
but glistened, while weed-green tresses,
once tethered, loosened and trailed braid-free
further tumbling washing diving
her shape-shimmering waves
beyond dammed dykes and ditches
beyond cruel confinements and clutching claws

to emissions beyond the vapours.
In expectation, Elder and Care returned later

for more., but found mere puddles to be mopped
- and a heavy silence
                               gently swinging.

Sought. Da! Out of blue, anchorage released
in the far far distance a sweet siren started to call
singing of swimming and sighing sea breezes.
re-emerging . . .
                       re-birthing . . .
                                            borne weightless . . .

eeding the System

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