Illustration: Lia Popaz
By: Natalie Karimi
1st of May 2023
The nightingale’s cinnamon wings shed a shadow alongside the rooftop. Wings that stand in front of the orange, lava sunrise, welcoming the morning. A song that has not yet been sung; the performance only takes place once the sun sets. The kids in the village pleading for an encore, the stars putting on their own show in the sky. A sky filled with constellations that only the brightest of people know their shapes and names. Galileo Galilei has written down a few but only those with interest actually take the time to read through them. Constellations such as metallic fish fryers from a fast food restaurant, or Ursa Major, as educated people refer to it. Imagine if the mind could float all the way up to those stars and reform their shapes and sizes, how that would change science. The church would think it was God’s work, but scientists would spend years to prove it was the deed of the man sitting on the moon, smoking a cigar. He got bored and had no more Cubans left, so he closed his eyes and fingerpainted the sky in strips of yellow and white circles, The Starry Night.
Nightingales would know the truth; it was the storyteller that reshaped the stars and turned them into a painting. One that would outshine Van Gogh’s The Scream. Why would a man scream in the vicinity of color and beauty? Only a man trying to figure out if it is the world screaming at him or if he is on psychedelics, screaming at himself. As the baby blue sky becomes pale, almost fainting, it slowly camouflages itself with the white clouds. The villagers sleep soundly. Not a single pot or pan hits stove tops as the mother goes to the hens’ cage and grabs two eggs for omelets. A favorite breakfast on Saturday mornings.
The whale in the lake is nonchalant to the smoke coming from the hut beside its home. A caramel beak pecks at the whale’s head, the rest of the fawn-colored body resting on the whale like a beach lounge chair; oblivious to the croaks coming from the green, ivy petals. Men raise their rifles towards the clouds and shoot at whatever moves in the sky, sharing laughs amongst bullets.
The sky screams and the lake shudders for a moment. A frog leaps into the air and into a pile of bushes. The whale sinks its body under water in a peaceful manner, as if someone is tugging its fin, saying “time for dinner.” A nightingale soars into the sky, only one wing supporting its weight. Black eyes dart at the sides of its body, in shock of the absence caused by the arrow. Cinnabar red drips down, sprinkles like rain as the wing flaps. Gravity does not make exceptions for its own laws. It sternly shifts the bird’s weight to the left, dropping it from the sky and into the lake.
One less nightingale will sing tonight as the sun is met with applause from the villagers, pleading for an encore, but the next act must be brought to stage. Stars and constellations allow kids to mock their appearance by calling them a fish fryer instead of Ursa Major. Scientists nor believers can prove that the change in skies was the idea of God or the man sitting on the moon smoking a Cuban. However, the idea belonged to a nightingale missing a wing, singing in the sky; befriending a lonely man with a drooping cigar, tipping at the edge of his lips.