Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Cage - Teresa Colom

My father found a canary in the snow.
We put it into a cage.
One of its legs, instead of claws, had only a stump.
In fine weather, my mother would give it
a dish of water and the canary would bathe.
I used to lift it out and trim its claws.
One summer I decided to let it fly now and then.
It kept bumping into the window-panes.
It would recover on top of the curtains.
It flew from one to the other
and it was hard to catch it again.
I fastened a length of wool to one of its legs.
Each time I remembered which leg I had tied it to
so as not to be always pulling on the same one.
The canary sang. It pecked at the lettuce and bread
that my mother wedged between the bars.
We, her sons and daughters, went from being children
to leaving home behind us.
Our father had already done the same.
The canary stayed in the flat with her.
Now that I think of it, we were never afraid
that it might escape from us.
There came a time when even the curtains
were too far away for it.
My mother didn’t want to keep it
nor was she able to rid herself of it.
She and the creature had grown old together.
One morning she found it lying stiff.
She has a phobia of things with feathers.
She threw it away, cage and all.

Teresa Colom (born 1973) Andorra
Translated by Anna Crowe

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