arrived and the construction of Ys first began, the birds watched closely, occasionally lending the nail of their beaks. Thus, the birds forgot about their loneliness, a loneliness born of desolate skies (it’s easier than it looks to get lost up there). We think of this as a human condition, but once loneliness belonged exclusively to the birds. This was before we enveloped their emotions, empathizing to the point that we mistook their feelings for our own—until we stole their pain away. And without their pain, the birds could be killed, mercilessly. But this came later. In the time I’m talking about, birds rested in the upturned palms of humans. This time lasted long enough to link our evolutionary strings indelibly, so that the human hand still looks like a fleshy nest, the fingers pliable to hold various-sized feathered breasts, the blood under our skin warm to cause drowsiness, and the slow human pulse inviting a much-needed sleep. Even fingernails had a protective purpose, defending human digits when the birds awoke, feeling peckish. Look at your palm—go ahead, take a peek. These are the fixed paths of birds in flight, paths we may never again decipher—not with the translation of a palm reader, who looks to the future instead of looking back on time, or better yet, up at the cloudless sky. Even you, I believe, have seen one out your window—a hysterical mina, a steady hummingbird—and have felt an ancient urge to hold it. Some still make a habit of spotting them in parks. Others record their songs and play them back, listening as if to decode a message. And then there are those who have gone so far as to close their eyes and, imagine—they squeeze.