I am sitting on the steps of an old house with a beautiful woman I barely
know. It’s hot outside and not even a leaf moves. Towards our left, a pond
where birds come to bath. We spot a huge bird — a swan or a peahen —
dipping its body in the pond to flee the scalding heat. I suddenly remember
the white bird, song-like, sensuous and strong, which carried us in its wings
and the very instant it comes to life next to our feet. It was as if our thought
gave it flesh and blood. But the bird with its beak and wings pressed to the
ground appeared sick and flightless. I fetch it water from a rusty tap in the
fold of plantain flower I found by the steps. It drinks the water with a gentle
flap of wings, a gesture that reminds me of street dogs lapping unhurriedly
from road-side puddles. The woman walks inside muttering something sweet
about the poor bird. I return to the rusted tap with the bowl-like fold of the
plantain flower, but the water that flows from it appear to be muddy and foul.