the nearly-severely depressed bird

The next night the bird who is almost always very close, she feels, to experiencing severe depression and crippling loneliness opens her Moleskine notebook. She picks up a red pen she stole from Harvard’s bookstore and writes, “Clean nest ten minutes.” She stares at her Moleskine journal for thirty minutes and then writes, “Find ferret and pet it with my wing.” Five minutes later she writes, “Drink orange smoothie.” She stares at the Moleskine. Forty minutes later she writes, “Mail five sticks to five birds.” The bird sits. She looks at her pile of books. She picks a graphic novel called “Bighead” by Jeffrey Brown. She reads and sometimes grins at the drawings, and the dialogue, but also feels very nervous and like she might cry because though she currently does not feel bad she is very aware of the possibility of feeling very bad. It is a feeling like she is metaphysically “surrounded by endless shit.”
The shit isn’t touching her but it is near her, in a precarious way, like she is standing on a small raft floating on liquid shit inside a room whose walls and ceiling are made of shit. It is very difficult to balance on the raft to prevent it from becoming slanted. But the raft almost never becomes slanted and when it does become slanted the bird always recovers. The bird has never fallen into the endless shit, because though it is very difficult and requires a lot of energy and focus to balance on the raft the bird does it existentially, meaning it is a kind of work, the bird feels, that is done at once automatically, deliberately, carefully, without fail, without reprieve, and without choice.

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