HUSK 1.1

Conducting Pheasants

by Erin Osborne

The pheasants were all-colorful. Woodsy. They were perched in a tree of driftwood, grey and curvaceous and unbreakable. We could’ve been in Africa or Kansas or any place where grasses grow unkempt and turn golden, so that all you think this world is are these pheasants and that tree and this grass and that sky. As is customary, I held the thin baton in my right hand. When I brought it up, the pheasants stopped their useless scratching and incessant bobbing. The baton was made from a dead brother’s tail feather, no more reason than that. I pointed the baton down, they jumped out of the tree. I pointed the baton up, they jumped back into the tree. This went on for a time. I wished I had dreamt something more involved for them to do: to utilize their wings as capes like a bullfighter, to screech like a jet engine; to bow or beseech, sincerely.

I Wanted to Tell You Something

It was a shard of metal flowing safely through your aorta, over and over again for the rest of your life. It was a petal of the hydrangea flower, veined and changing. It was the curve of a fern’s frond. It was the beak of a finch, any finch. It was a tiny glass sphere, indisputable in its composition.  It was a misfiring synapse. It was the snaps of my coat against the barrel of the clothes dryer. It was that arias exist; they’re a thing! It was that sound is primordial. It was about a porpoise called the Vaquita. It prefers shallow, moving, murky water. It has black markings around its eyes and lips, and a black stripe that runs from the corners of its mouth to the beginnings of its pectoral fins. It avoids all boats, it’s usually alone except when with a calf, and it comes up for air slowly and timorously. It eats and swims at its own leisure. I didn’t want to tell you that it’s endangered.