Friday, June 11, 2004

Empty Nest

They looked as if they were smirking, those baby birds. Their bright yellow-lined bills tipped upward as if to beg a meal, but their jaws and eyes were squeezed tight.

I hopped nervously from chick to chick, hoping they had been only recently displaced. "Nope," they grimaced. "You're too late." An insect crawled greedily up one bird. Some predator had peeled the other bird's belly like a fruit. Rigor mortis had not come yet, but both little bodies had roasted on the driveway's heat.

Each bird wore a smudge of feathers, a pre-pubescent fuzz, on its wee shoulders and head. The translucent wings I at first mistook for fins. These resembled tiny marine fossils, and so my brain skipped illogically to the sea. I leaned closer and observed the rows of delicate, grey-white pin feathers—freshly sprouted and freshly irrelevant.


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