~We are all broken birds, but we can be put back together again—Kim Sisto-Robinson
~~Since my sister’s murder, my family has dealt with her loss in various ways.
I wailed, screamed, lamented, and moaned like a wounded animal, a broken bird. I walked around the house yelling son-of-a-bitch, motherf*cker, bastard, c*ck-sucker; words I never uttered in my past life, but somehow fit my new one.
My daddy sat on the swing we bought him for his 25th wedding anniversary. I observed him sitting on that oak swing numerous days alone staring into space. I imagine he thought about how he could’ve saved his daughter, what he could’ve done to change the tragic events that took place on May 26th. If I asked him now, I’m sure that’s what he’d say. “Why couldn’t I save my daughter?”
My mother washed clothes, sorting the darks and whites as if it were absolutely critical not to combine the two, as if the dye would bleed into where it shouldn’t be, as if she had to do something with her hands to breathe, to move, to live.
But mostly, she baked cakes.
After the funeral, she baked a rhubarb cake and served it warm with homemade whip cream to visitors. She cracked eggs, measured flour, poured sugar, and cut up ripe rhubarb from the back yard. She mixed buttermilk into her batter, and somehow the scent lingered like a normal day. Whatever that means.
“Sweetheart,” she’d say, “did you know I can bake four cakes from a half gallon of buttermilk?”
I almost expected my sister to be sitting at the kitchen table eating my mother’s cakes. I almost expected her to giggle and say, “Kimmy, I have secrets to tell you that you’re not going to believe.”
But she is gone, gone, gone.
Three gun shots. Then gone. That’s that. A blink of an eyelash, a tick of the clock, a phone call…. and lives can shatter into unimaginable destruction.
I still find the thought of my sister’s absence inconceivable, the massive void of it, the loneliness of that broken bird kills me, too.
But then I dream of her flying, her long, auburn hair streaming through air like a kind of liberation, freedom, finished poem.
And I know. I know. I know…
That broken birds can be put back together again, soar again, fly again. That wings can be restored again even if they are not as whole as they once were.