the corner of his mouth in her direction. To her credit, she just stared back at him—waiting for him to say just one more word about the situation, and to his credit, he didn’t. He put the lighter back in the dash, sucked one long drag on the fresh butt and then blasted it out through the open window. I didn’t need to see his face to know his jawbone was getting a workout. I looked up. In the deep blue summer sky a flock of blackbirds—millions of blackbirds—flew in a single line. This ribbon of blackbirds stretched from horizon
Mike Smith Stafford.
to horizon, they seemed a narrow band of black against a bluer-than-blue sky. We drove north. They flew south. I wondered if blackbirds knew Morse code. I wondered if their claws were clean. We returned to silence, punctuated by the road ordering us back. We complied, with the men in the car—that would be me and Bob—okay with following the road’s guidance . . . and the women—well, not so much.
Originally from Alabama, Smith moved to Fredericksburg in 2005 after he retired from the Army in
Spring 2014 Volume 2, Issue 1
A compilation of the Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Volumes 1 and 2 (2013-2014)