He forgot his name when he died, forgot everything but that he had been a man, and unhappy.
Someone spoke to him, a Voice: “Again?”
He knew that there might be another chance.
“Yes. Only –“
“I was not happy as a man.”
“Might I– might I be a bird?”
“Again anew,” said the Voice.
He was reborn, through bright lights and floating, an egg.
He lay in the shell, as his heart beat and his beak formed and he feathered.
He burst through the shell and lay gasping.
April sunlight dried his feathers.
He screamed for hunger, and someone bright-eyed fed him.
He learned to fly.
He tumbled from the nest and spun as the gray sidewalk rose toward him.
Flight was wine, flight was life.
Flight was work, his muscles ached, his bones rang as glass chimes do in the wind.
He pecked and scratched at the earth from spring to summer to fall.
The winter came sharp and sudden and he was unprepared.
He froze to death in the early snows of October.
He forgot everything save that he had been a bird, and hungry and cold.
The Voice: “Again?”