I wake from a dream in which small birds are fluttering into my hands. They are the size of finches, but coloured in blues and rusts and creams, as if they were swallows. I place each bird on a scarred round wooden table beneath a tall window and they gather in a huddle. It is cold. We seem to be at one end of a large library: musty volumes line the walls and the space is hushed and dark. Outside, it is winter, and bare branches scratch at the window. One detail stays with me as I wake--just before setting down each bird, I pluck a few feathers from its wings. This seems to frighten them, and hurt them; I do not know why I do it. Waking more fully, I realize that the cat is asleep on my chest. This has happened to me before--am I having her dreams again? She lifts her head and blinks at me.
No, let me own my own cruelty. I should not blame it on the cat.