From the banister, I looked down into the closest of the three cages hanging from the ceiling, like chandeliers, above the dining room table. A woman knelt inside, blindfolded and still, the iron bars leaving cross-work patterns on her naked flesh. She was just close enough that I could see a spray of freckles on one shoulder and the outline of an unidentifiable tattoo.
As the dinner guests entered, she lifted her head and opened her throat to sing. The notes wafted upward, bouncing against the high-ceiling and falling down like stardust over the room, and I wondered what kind of person cages such beautiful birds and, likewise, what kind of beautiful bird allows herself to be caged thus. In her voice, I could hear longing and just a hint of…was it fear…the delicious sort that spins our nerves and sets our skin to buzzing?
Her voice was joined by a second and a third and I felt my heart swell with the harmony.
Three women, bound, caged, and singing, background music to some, but focal to me. I knew I could not enjoy a meal or superficial conversation with them above me, for their soft trilling, an uneasy lullaby, was snaking into my ear, down my spine, and resting just at my tail, vibrating within me.
I squeezed my thighs together to hold the rumbling of their deepest notes between them and felt myself begin to pulse and tighten.
She looked up, catching my gaze, and smiled…and I knew. I knew just the sort of person who would cage such a beautiful bird.