United States
34° 17' 48.0336" N, 118° 13' 45.3756" W

I sat in my dirty, gray pickup truck parked
under the shade of an old oak
choked by ivy, smoking
cigarettes before work.

The warmth that late winter day,
like a long desired kiss from a
childhood crush.

Maybe it was the flutter of wings, the deep
caw of the crow, or the sharp chirps of the
sparrows, but I looked out the window.

Two sparrows fought a crow, defending their nest
against a foe more than thrice their
size, a black winged

After work,
the sun was setting off to the west, painting
the sky orange and the fading red of the lipstick
my mom proudly wore when I was little.

The nest had fallen
on the silky concrete
of the parking lot, and
ants swarmed the bloated carcasses
of the two baby birds crushed under the weight of a tire.

Death ran his cold, bony fingers
up the small of my back and the
base of my neck, but
I could not tear my eyes

I remembered
the dog I had as a child, and its
entrails open on the side of the

I couldn’t sleep that night. My parents
refused to turn on the heater, and
it was 64 degrees, inside.

My baby sister was asleep,
her blanket crumbled on the cold wooden
floor, arms wrapped around her sides,

I place the sheets just beneath her chin, and
she sighs with content, a smile
adorning her face.

I stared outside into that bright moon,
wondering about dead baby birds and dead
puppy dogs, and sisters. Thinking
“Funny how it works that way.”


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