>BEFORE IT MOVED by Michelle Law

>A pigeon lands beside me. Some of its feathers are upturned, exposing the cream colour underneath. I watch it. It watches me back, questioningly. Down below, cars drive too close to each other. A cacophony of horns builds to a crescendo against a deep orange sunset.

My legs dangle listlessly over the edge of the beam. There is nothing to support me here, nothing to lean against, and nothing for my shadow to rest upon, except a few metres of thin steel. But I feel at ease with the fragility. Any movement I make is within my own power. It’s a power I don’t understand.

There are a few uniformed men below, talking to me through white megaphones.

‘Stay right there, everything is okay.’

They’re big, heavy megaphones. I can see the men’s arms shaking from the weight.

‘We’re coming to get you.’

We’re coming to get you. It sounds like a threat.

The pigeon is resting beside me, its head nestled against the damaged feathers. For a while it coos, testing its voice against the still air. I ease myself lower, so I’m lying face down with my limbs wrapped around the metal. It feels nice to hold something. The crowd below applauds. I didn’t do it for them.

I grope at the sky, and my hand brushes the pigeon’s soft body. It launches, and for a moment everything stings from the brightness of cream on blue.


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