Just as the car was slipping back toward the street, a mockingbird swooped into the oak tree in the front yard, a tree with an adolescent ball of branches that barely reaches as high as the peak of our single-story roof. I braked to watch the grey and white sweep of wings and body settle into the branches, a light shadow in the oak's darkness. Mockingbirds are ghosts, flashes of grey taffetta, hints of Civil War photos, phantoms of the books that I read as a child and the cats we owned--sleek hunters upon whom the birds would dive in the afternoons with shrieks.
I'm leaving the mockingbird behind. Checking the mirrors and windows, the pink sunset gleams from another bird. Egret, probably, although I will imagine that it is a flamingo winging above the suburbs and dreaming of the beach and a warmer season.
All of this, birds and memories, dissolve in the fizz of the radio and the turns of road that lead me away from the house. A Jordanian writer educated in the city at Rice and working at a web news outlet in Jordan hedges her desire to be where she feels she is needed as "cheesy." Her belief washes from the speakers like a rebuke, cold waters in the cold evening. Come to the edge of the water and declare yourself.
And still I drive, undeclared, unhaunted, hermetic and mobile.