Quietly intimate now, after, still linked by a fast-fading bridge, the lovers lie languorous in each other’s arms. No breeze disturbs their passion-spent rest, no gusts sway the torn cotton covering of the small window set high in the adobe wall. Slashes of sunlight cut across their tanned and sweated bodies like rivers of gold, like segments of ripe orange.
Outside, the bleaching sun blazes down against the white wall made nearly invisible by the glare, while the black square of the window stares unblinking, like an eye refusing to surrender to the torturer’s gaze. For the desperate starling, parched and exhausted from its fruitless search, the dark-stained block appears a refuge from the sun’s incessant heat, and it alights on the sill, moving swiftly into the recessed shadow.
Cooler now and rested, the young starling, ever inquisitive, explores beyond the shadow, pushing its head through a gap in the thin drapes. Beneath him lies a world of welcome gloom, a map of shadows, an atlas of unfamiliar forms. With barely a glance behind him into the suffocating heat of day, the bird leaps through the curtain into the mote-speckled room that beckons with the image of a forest clearing.
Gliding silently through the heavy air, the young explorer slowly circles the room, unsure now of his direction but certain of his desires. Seeking water, he sees it in the golden sparkling streams that gently rise and fall with slow and certain regularity. He swoops and, landing on what he has no vocabulary to call a thigh, he quickly pecks at the glistening skin.