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December 1, 2005

Baby bird (for Mark)

You came into my life all a-flutter, panicked shrieks echoing through the quiet house late at night. Almost asleep, reading by candlelight, I heard the ominous hissspitgrowl of the cats and my heart sank for you. Leaping out of bed, I managed to scruff necks and whack noses and pluck you from their grasp, but by then your little body was heaving.

I took you outside and placed you tenderly in the herb planter box, where you turned your face to the dirt and cheeped sadly, wings beating erratically and little legs flailing as you struggled with your fate. I couldn’t see blood, or brokenness, but your beak opened and closed in a silent cry of distress, your body shook with the effort of heartbeats and your eyes kept squinting in pain.

Rendered helpless and full of self-loathing, I stood wrapped in my white dressing gown under the flickering porch light and willed you to live, or die quickly. I couldn’t bring myself to kill you, so stood and watched you suffer and writhe. I couldn’t bring myself leave you as you struggled, cried and flapped, wanting to stroke you but knowing it would only increase your distress. So I stood there immobile, and waited pathetically for nature to take its course, ashamed of my lack of courage as I mumbled senseless words of comfort you couldn’t understand.

That night in my dreams I saw you, held your lifeless body in my hands and placed you gently in the bin. As I closed the lid, one beady eye opened and shone through me in the darkness.

And in the morning you were gone.

*On the other side of the world*

... daft flock of sheep scheming a descent down the steepest incline of a very rocky mountain, to their herder below. some go, carefully, step-by-step-by-step, occassional leaps, slides, the suspense uncontainable. they make it. oh, but a straggler, a quivering lonesome straggler. a gush of wind, a half-hearted step, the slip the fall, tumble tumble tumble, thwomp to the ground amid its oblivious flock ...

..... instead red, splatters thereof, a miserable bloody death. the end.

How close we are in spirit, dear friend, as we watch while others' depart.