Never mind how they met. Sometimes in stories,
the inexplicable happens. At first, the river of the universe
is too wide for the parted lovers to cross. Their tears
call the birds from the sky, and flocks of magpies gather
to form a bridge, wingtip to wingtip, offering up their hollow
bones for love’s sake, which is why the magpie is considered
a sacred bird, and if at dawn you spy only one, you must say
Good morning, Mr. Magpie. Where is your wife today? And this is
because of Orihime, the Weaving Princess, daughter of Tentei
the Sky King, and Hikoboshi the Cow Herder, who wait on the glittering
banks of Amanogawa, the infinite, longing river we must cross
or be lost, drowned in the night’s water, one feather dancing upon another.
“Magpie” first appeared in Kestrel, Issue 30, Spring 2013.