He tells her the birds are dying. "All of them," he says. He says they're dying out. He wants her crying so he can console her. Now she is crying, but he can't console her. Later he finds her bleeding through a dishtowel. She has slit her wrist crossways with a kitchen knife.
He comes to the hospital at specified hours to watch her crying or watch her not crying. With cold coffee in paper cups and with magazines: fashion, culture, special interest. She finds the advertisements calming. She points to one. "In these shoes," she says, "I could go anywhere." She is wearing socks with rubber-tread bottoms and a smock and another smock just like the first one over the first one but backwards.
"You could go anywhere without shoes," he says.
He can't say why she cries at that, but the birds are doing fine.
The birds are doing better than anyone.
Anna DeForest is living in Brooklyn.