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What Follows the Death of A Chickadee Spencer Jackson


he oppressive summer sun beats down on the lush green grass as it pushes itself up in protest to the inevitable coming of fall before the deadness of winter. Encircled by tall, old pine trees, the small blue house and the lawn it sat on was like a hole cut out of the normal world. Nearby, a tiny child with bright blonde hair and wide blue eyes has stopped playing and is looking down at the ground. At his feet is a Chickadee, lying on its stomach with its wings slightly extended. Up close, the edges of his feathers look coarse and haggard. Each desperate, heaving breath seems to take away how much air can be drawn in with the next. The small boy watches with his mouth closed, his brow furrowed. He doesn’t touch the bird. It doesn’t take long; only a few minutes pass. The Chickadee looks up at the boy with its black eyes as it takes one final breath before becoming permanently still. The boy watches and waits. The bird does not move. Unsettled, the boy reaches down with one chubby finger and pokes the bird on the back. When the bird does nothing in response, the boy scoops the bird up and runs to his house. His small feet resounded against the smooth wooden floor as he reached the threshold of his kitchen. He stopped in the doorway, leaning against the frame and feeling the cool white paint against his smooth skin. His mother was standing in front of the window above the sink, leaning forward with both elbows locked as she clutched the edge of the counter. Her dirty blonde hair looked faint and thin, yet her figure was large and solid to the boy, who stared at her with the bird lying on his outreached palms. “Hey Mum,” he says grimly, “I found a bird.” She doesn’t turn around. “That’s great, honey.” She replies quietly. Her eyes are focused on the dirt driveway leading away from their little hole in the world. The same driveway the boy’s father drove up two days ago and hadn’t come back since. “Mum?” the boy asks, raising the bird up, “Is this what being dead is like?” She still doesn’t turn around. She doesn’t want him to see the tears in her eyes. “Go back out and play sweetheart,” she replied, “play as much as you can before dinner.”


Centripetal Volume 12 Issue 1  

Volume 12 Issue 1--Fall 2010