Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

lunes, diciembre 31, 2007

Prospero Año Nuevo!

The caracol (a snail) is a Zapatista symbol for free government entities (juntas). It's a link between the present and the Mayan past. And it's a reminder of a time when the world moved much more slowly. When there was time for thinking and time for thoughts. When there was less rushing. When there was deliberation.

And so the caracol is my wish to you for 2008. May all of your minutes have 60 seconds. May there be time to reflect. May there be time to step off the treadmill. May there be a pause. May there be time for you. And may time gift you with abundant delight, joy, happiness, satisfaction, peace, comfort, safety and health.

Y prospero año nuevo!

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jueves, diciembre 27, 2007

A Brief, Shameless Solicitation

If you like reading The Dream Antilles, you might want to cast a vote for it as the Best Blog Written By A Public Defender Having Nothing To Do With The Job. Isn't that a mouthful? To vote, click here.

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miércoles, diciembre 26, 2007

The Acteal Massacre And Another Arrest

cross posted at docuDharma

On December 22, 1997, a decade ago, paramilitary forces attacked the village of Acteal in Chiapas, Mexico. The attack became known as the Acteal Massacre. 45 people, mostly women and children, who were attending a prayer meeting were killed. The victims, including children and pregnant women, were members of the pacifist group Las Abejas ("The Bees").

While the Las Abejas activists professed support for the goals of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), they had renounced violence. Many suspect their affiliation with EZLN was the reason for the attack. Following the murders, there were charges of government involvement and complicity. Soldiers at a nearby military outpost didn't intervene during the attack, which lasted for hours, and the following morning, soldiers were found washing the church walls to hide the blood stains. Wiki.

The 1997 Funeral In Acteal

According to ZMag:
The horror began on December 22, 1997, shortly before 11 am, when 70 heavily armed men, all wearing dark blue police type uniforms, entered ... the pine covered highland community of Acteal. They stormed into the church where village members along with refugees from nearby communities who had recently fled mounting paramilitary violence were kneeling in prayers of peace. As the shooting began, men, women, and children desperately ran to supposed hiding places- the river, the cornfields, and the mountains. A five-hour killing spree ensued, resulting in the deaths of 45 innocent people, mostly women and children. Survivors recounted the terror as the paramilitary group ruthlessly searched for victims, killing them at close range, often in the back. Women hid with their children in caves lining the nearby river. When a baby cried out in terror, armed men followed the screams in order to find those hiding and assassinate them. Special police forces observed from 200 meters away as the bloody events unfolded. They never once intervened. Instead, to cover up the magnitude of the event, they attempted to hide the bodies in a cave and in a ravine.

The EZLN and many Chiapas residents accused the governing Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of complicity in the attack, and following the change of government in 2000, survivors asserted that the investigation was being stalled and that the authorities were refusing to question or arrest suspects. There have apparently been at least 18 convictions in connection with the massacre. Most appear to have involved possession of weapons restricted to the army.

According to IHT this weekend:
Since the Acteal massacre, on Dec. 22, 1997, dozens of people have been arrested and convicted. But the case remains as foggy as the community, which is so high in the hills that clouds sometimes linger at ground level and the lush vegetation can disappear into the haze.

Then-President Ernesto Zedillo, reacting to international outrage over the killings, ordered an aggressive investigation. What prosecutors found was ugly: While local government officials and police officers had not wielded the weapons that day, they had allowed the slaughter to occur and tampered with the crime scene afterward.

The killers had been members of the then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. The victims were Roman Catholic advocates from a group called Las Abejas, or The Bees, who sympathized with the Zapatista rebels who were in open revolt in Chiapas.

All involved were poor Tzotzil Indians, many of them related.

Mexico's courts have apparently been severely taxed by the cases.
Meanwhile, Mexico's courts struggle to handle what has grown into one of the country's longest and most complex cases. A dozen judges have been involved in the trials and, now, the appeals of their convictions.

A year ago, the public interest law clinic at Mexico City's Center for Investigation and Economic Studies began defending those convicted of taking part in the massacre. Lawyers say they have found that outrage over what happened to the innocents that day led to more abuses. They describe an effort to round up anyone, which sent many other innocent people to prison. "The Acteal case shows all the problems of Mexico's criminal justice system," said Javier Angulo, who teaches constitutional law at the center and supervises a team of students who are representing the Acteal defendants. "We solved the problem of the Acteal massacre by creating other problems and arresting people who did nothing at all."

The case is an ideal one, Angulo argues, to show law students that every defendant ought to be treated fairly, even if there is great public dismay over a particular crime.

Which brings us to today's news. According to AP:
Authorities on Sunday said they re-arrested the alleged mastermind of a 1997 massacre of 45 men, women and children in southern Mexico.

Antonio Santiz was detained Saturday — the 10th anniversary of the killings — on charges he participated in a series of violent robberies in the days leading up to the Acteal massacre in the southern state of Chiapas, police said in statement.

Chiapas Justice Minister Amador Rodriguez Lozano called Santiz the presumed "intellectual author" of the killings and said he is believed to have provided many of the weapons used in the massacre.

The arrest, Rodriguez said, was an important step in an still ongoing investigation into the massacre. Santiz had been arrested for his alleged involvement in 2000, but a judge threw out the charges in 2001, ruling there wasn't enough evidence.

Meanwhile, the massacre was remembered on Sunday in Mexico City:
A convoy of cars has demonstrated in Mexico City to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the killings of 45 Teotzil Indians in Acteal.

A total of 15 cars carrying cardboard coffins on their roofs drove around the streets of the south area of Mexico City on Saturday.

The demonstration was organized by the political group 'La otra campana' or 'The other campaign', which supports human rightsm, AP reported.

And on Christmas Eve, FRAYBA (El Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas) denounced the arrest as "suspicious" in light of its timing.

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domingo, diciembre 23, 2007

A Request For Your Help

An Open Letter from Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, and Sharon Salzberg

Dear Friends,

We are writing to ask your support for two beloved friends of ours, Stephen and Ondrea Levine. They are currently facing significant difficulty. After a life-time of giving, they are now at a time to receive from those of us whose lives have been touched by their presence and teaching.

Their greatest needs are financial. Ondrea has Leukemia and the costs of her insurance and treatment have used up their savings. Stephen's health is not good either, and he is too frail to travel or teach. When we heard about this, we felt moved to contribute to a fund set up for them, and to encourage others to do the same.

Stephen and Ondrea have been among our generation's most important teachers, demonstrating and encouraging others to embrace the power of love and generosity. For three years, they ran a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week free phone line for those dying or in need of support. When the phone bills got too high, they sold their house to keep the project going. For decades they regularly corresponded with thousands people who were seeking spiritual guidance, giving freely to those in need, many of whom were sick or in the final years of their life.

The circle has now come around, allowing us the opportunity to give to these two life-long givers. We hope to raise several hundred thousand dollars in small and large donations to help them through this time.

Caring for friends and teachers is an essential part of any spiritual life. As we age, spiritual friends are more important than ever. Stephen and Ondrea have been dear spiritual friends to us and to thousands of others through their books, workshops, and correspondence.

If you are one of these people and are moved to give, below are three ways to donate to the Levine Fund at Bread for the Journey. Bread for the Journey informs us that donations are tax deductible.

With gratitude and love, Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, and Sharon Salzberg

Mail: Send to: Bread for the Journey, 267 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, California 94941. In the letter, please enclose a note indicating that your gift is for the Stephen and Ondrea Levine Fund and in the note section of your check write "Levine Fund." In honor of the immeasurable gifts Stephen and Ondrea have given to the family of the earth, Bread for the Journey has generously offered to manage the fund with 100% of your donation going to the Levine Fund.

Online: click here here and designate the donation to the Levine Fund:

Phone: call 415-383-4600 with a credit card number.

For questions and other means of giving, contact

* Please feel free to post this letter on blogs or forward it to individuals or groups you know who may wish to hear news of Stephen and Ondrea.

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viernes, diciembre 21, 2007

Updated: Eric Volz Is Free!!

Eric Volz

CNN reports:
An American man held in a Nicaraguan jail was released Friday, four days after a court overturned his conviction on charges of murdering his former girlfriend, his family told CNN. /snip

A mix-up kept Eric Volz, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee, in custody after an appeals court reversed the ruling that found him guilty of the 2005 death of Doris Jimenez.

Thursday night, a Nicaraguan appeals court in Granada cleared up the confusion and signed release papers for Volz, said Maria Jose Oviedo, assistant to one of the judges on the court.

Once the documents were processed by the police hospital in Managua -- where Volz was undergoing treatment for a variety of ailments -- he was set free under Nicaraguan law, a court official said.

This probably doesn't end the case. CNN reports that the prosecutors may still appeal. For the previous Eric Volz blog entry, click here

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Today Is Iraq Moratorium Day #4

What's this all about? You can read about it here. Or you can stay in The Dream Antilles read about this here.

A suggestion if you want to end the war and if you don't want to go out in the snow to demonstrate is simply to give a few bucks to the Iraq Moratorium Site. Go here and click on "contribute."

The donation can be the something you did today to end the War.


jueves, diciembre 20, 2007

Eric Volz Conviction Reversed, But He's Not Free

Eric Volz

Back in March 23, 2007, I wrote an essay about Eric Volz, an American convicted in Nicaragua of a murder he didn't commit. The victim was his girl friend; he had proof that he was far away in Managua when the murder took place. He was convicted anyway in what I felt was a classic, ugly miscarriage of justice. And he was sentenced to 30 years' imprisonment. He's been locked up ever since in Nicaragua. Now there's some good news and some bad news about the case.

The good news is that the conviction has been reversed. The bad news is that Eric Volz is not free and that the government will apparently seek a further appeal in the case to the Supreme Court of Nicaragua. He may be detained until that appeal is completed.

This from The Wall Street Journal:
Days after a Nicaraguan appeals court threw out his murder conviction and ordered him freed immediately, Eric Volz, a 28-year-old surfer-turned real-estate broker, is still in custody. His case is taking bizarre new turns that shine a spotlight on the unpredictability of the Nicaraguan legal system.

The delay also brought a fresh round of exasperation for Mr. Volz's family members, who believed Monday that Mr. Volz was on the verge of walking out of custody and on to a jet home. "I feel like my son has been kidnapped," Maggie Anthony, the man's mother, said by telephone.

The U.S. Embassy in Managua issued a statement on Tuesday calling on local authorities to implement the appeals court order freeing him, and return his passport. "We trust that the Nicaraguan authorities will ensure the safety and well being of Mr. Volz while he is in custody."

Mr. Volz's lawyer, Fabbrith Gomez accused court officials of using illegal tactics to delay Mr. Volz's release while they regroup and attempt to mount a new case, or a Supreme Court appeal. For example, under Nicaraguan law, before Mr. Volz can be freed, the lower court judge who first convicted him must acknowledge the appeals court ruling with a signature. That judge has so far avoided signing. She didn't show up at her courthouse when the papers arrived, claiming she had a flat tire, members of Mr. Volz's defense team have said. Later, the judge claimed to have returned the unsigned papers back to the appeals court on the grounds that the pages of the appeals court ruling weren't numbered correctly. The appeals court, meantime, says the papers were never received – and the whereabouts of the ruling are unknown at this time.

It's hard to imagine a legal system in which a judge's signature on original documents can hold up release of a defendant and the documents are driven across the country to be signed. This case has previously required a suspension of disbelief, so that may be appropriate again now.

CNN makes the procedure seem only slightly more rational:
Nicaraguan prosecutors are appealing a court's decision that overturned an American man's conviction in the killing of his former girlfriend and set the stage for his release, officials said.

Magazine publisher Eric Volz's mother says she's concerned for his safety.

The office of Isadora Ibarra, prosecuting attorney, said she had left Wednesday to deliver the appeal to Granada.

Eric Volz, 28, of Nashville, Tennessee, remains in custody despite the Monday ruling by a Nicaraguan appeals court that he should be released immediately.

His attorney, Fabbrith Gomez, has said the Managua judge who sentenced Volz -- Ivette Toruno Blanco -- was stalling on signing court documents, holding up his release. Blanco has said the documents were incorrectly numbered and returned to Granada, Gomez said.

So the craziness of this case continues. Eric Volz is not yet free. His case may be headed for a Supreme Court review. I have been unable to find information about whether bail is available to Volz pending a further appeal by the Government.

For updates: click here.

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miércoles, diciembre 19, 2007

An Award?

To my complete surprise, this blog has been nominated for a 2007 Rodney Award as the best blog written by a public defender that has nothing to do with the law. I am flattered by this nomination.

This might be an opportune time to kick off my all out publicity campaign to win the award and then cash in on the fame, except that I'm not sure how I would go about doing that. And anyway, though I would love an award for something, that's not why I write this blog. It's enough for me if folks find, read and enjoy it. That makes your Bloguero very happy and thankful for your readership. Please continue to enjoy The Dream Antilles. I promise there will be no campaign.

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Happy Holidays!!

Felices Fiestas! Queremos tomar esta tiempo para ofrecerle nuestros mejores deseos a usted y sus seres queridos. Esperamos que su hogar este lleno de gozo, cordialidad y buena voluntad durante esta temporada de fiestas. Que usted y su familia gozen de paz, felicidad y buena salud durante el nuevo ano.

Seasons Greetings! We'd like to take this time to extend our very best wishes to you and your loved ones. We hope your home will be filled with joy, warmth and goodwill during this holiday season. May you and your family enjoy peace, happiness, and good health throughout the coming year.

The bird at the top is a Caribbean laughing gull. In Spanish its name is guanaguanare. This bird always appears when the fishermen are unloading their catch after a day of fishing. The bird hopes for a fish to be dropped from a basket as the boats are unloaded so it can whisk it away. I have watched the guanaguanare, and I admire them. Whenever fish are unloaded, the fisherman should save a few just to throw to the gulls. This seems to say, "We're all together, we're all in this together, we're all sharing the earth. May you be well and happy."

I wish each of you a delightful Holiday Season. May you have ease and prosperity in this holiday season and in throughout the coming New Year.

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sábado, diciembre 15, 2007

Finally Ending The Death Penalty

crossposted at docudharma

On Thursday, the New Jersey legislature voted to end capital punishment in that state. I was delighted by the breaking news, and posted an essay. Yesterday, I learned that around the world, death penalty abolitionists were rejoicing and that in Italy the Coliseum was being illuminated in celebration. I was delighted, and posted an essay. Today my happiness continued. The New York Times has an editorial about the death penalty. It begins:
It took 31 years, but the moral bankruptcy, social imbalance, legal impracticality and ultimate futility of the death penalty has finally penetrated the consciences of lawmakers in one of the 37 states that arrogates to itself the right to execute human beings.

This week, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate passed a law abolishing the death penalty, and Gov. Jon Corzine, a staunch opponent of execution, promised to sign the measure very soon. That will make New Jersey the first state to strike the death penalty from its books since the Supreme Court set guidelines for the nation’s system of capital punishment three decades ago.

Some lawmakers voted out of principled opposition to the death penalty. Others felt that having the law on the books without enforcing it (New Jersey has had a moratorium on executions since 2006) made a mockery of their argument that it has deterrent value. Whatever the motivation of individual legislators, by forsaking a barbaric practice that grievously hurts the global reputation of the United States without advancing public safety, New Jersey has set a worthy example for the federal government, and for other states that have yet to abandon the creaky, error-prone machinery of death.

I hope that the ripples from the Times editorial travel far and wide. I hope that NJ's action is the beginning of the end of state killing in the US and the rest of the world. I would like to see an end to state killing in my lifetime. I believe that's possible.

I have always been opposed to the death penalty. I remember from when I was a small child the executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Their execution was particularly important because like me, they were Jews, and like my parents to some extent, they believed in the promises of 1930's Socialism. I remember the execution of Caryl Chessman in California. I remember other executions as well. All those executions seemed to me to be state murder and barbarian acts of vengeance. All of them seemed wrong and unprincipled.

Later, when I went to law school, I was fascinated by the intricacies criminal law. I was delighted when the US Supreme Court initially stopped all executions in the United States. And I was devastated when the Supreme Court permitted the death penalty to be resurrected from the ashes and for the killing to continue. I wasn't doing death penalty work then. I was working on civil rights cases in Mississippi in behalf of prisoners at Parchman and the State Hospital at Whitfield. I remember distinctly an intoxicated conversation with a colleague in which it emerged that it would be a whole lot easier for us to do something for people before they were incarcerated than it was to change conditions of confinement afterwards. I think that was when I finally committed to working in criminal defense.

Eventually, I left Mississippi and I went to work for the Federal Defender in NYC, and then into private practice as a criminal defense lawyer. I still do that work. As I am writing this diary, I am in the middle of a murder trial in Hudson, New York. I have practiced law for more than 30 years. I hope I have mastered my vocation.

In 1982, some friends who were involved in death penalty, appellate work and I went out with wives and girlfriends to a lavish Italian dinner in the Village. They had a plan. After a few bottles of excellent wine and entirely too much food, I agreed that I would handle a death penalty appeal in Mississippi pro bono. The case involved a direct appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court from a death penalty imposed in Gulfport, Mississippi. My friends wanted to make sure I wouldn't forget what I agreed to, that I would keep my promise. The next morning before my hangover had even started to abate, they delivered the files to my office. That helped my memory. It didn't help my headache. But I was lucky. Very lucky. The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the conviction and ultimately in 1984 my client was released from prison. I remember the day the Court called my office with the good news. When I heard who was on the phone, my heart started pounding and my mind was racing: would I have to seek a stay right then? would I have to apply for cert? would I have to go to federal court? What was the next step? The Clerk, after pausing for an unimaginably long period, said that the court had reversed the conviction, but one judge wrote a dissent arguing that my client should be killed. My relief was enormous. My client was reduced to tears.

That case began a long involvement with the death penalty. Since then, Congress has done whatever it can to thwart state prisoners' appeals to the federal courts. And the states have done whatever they can to limit state prisoners' collateral attacks on their convictions. These steps have made death penalty appeals a procedural rats' nest. Many death penalty cases have substantive issues that cannot be presented to a court. Prisoners on death row are routinely told that their arguments are foreclosed, that their arguments have been procedurally barred. Persistent efforts by legisltures and congress to make killing prisoners easier for the state by cutting off prisoners' appeals impaired the prisoners' rights to access to the courts. With a few exceptions, only large firms with thick wallets can now take on pro bono representation of death row prisoners.

Mostly, I now try to support others in their cases. I continue to write extensively about the Death Penalty and to blog about it when there is a development. I have tried to support abolition however I can. I continue to do that.

I celebrate the New Jersey law. To me the New Jersey legislature's decision to abolish the death penalty seems to be the beginning of the end for state killing. It's the opening of a new, positive front widening the battle for abolition. There is some good news. All lethal injection executions are now on a stay until the US Supreme Court decides the Kentucky lethal injection case. There will be no more executions as a result of those stays until Spring, 2008 at the earliest. Here in NY the death penalty was rendered useless by the Court of Appeals. There have been so many exonerations. The economy is in trouble and the cost of death penalty cases is so very high.

I hope all of this adds up to an end to state killing. And I hope it happens in my lifetime.

Right now, the sweetness of the victory in New Jersey lifts me up. And I hope it inspires others across the country to end the death penalty once and for all.

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viernes, diciembre 14, 2007

Congratulations, New Jersey!

Yesterday I posted an essay announcing that New Jersey was about to legislatively abolish the death penalty. I was elated. Apparently, I was not alone. Today the IHT reports:
Rome will light up the Colosseum in support of the planned abolishment of the death penalty in the U.S. state of New Jersey, a lay Roman Catholic organization said Friday.

The Sant'Egidio Community, which is at the forefront of an international anti-death penalty movement, said in a statement that the arena will be lit up when the state's governor, Jon S. Corzine, signs the legislation within a week.

New Jersey is poised to become the first U.S. state in four decades to abolish the death penalty after votes by state legislators this week.

Sant'Egidio praised New Jersey's decision, saying it is a "crucial passage" for a worldwide moratorium on capital punishment.

Rome's Colosseum, once the arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, has become a symbol of the fight against capital punishment. Since 1999, the first century monument has been bathed in golden light every time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the world or a country abolishes capital punishment.

I am so happy that this news is receiving the response it deserves. And I hope that those abolitionists who worked so very hard and consistently to bring about this legislation-- that means you, too, Abe Bonowitz-- are enjoying the fruits of their victory. I also hope this will inspire all of the rest of us!

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jueves, diciembre 13, 2007

New Jersey To Abolish Death Penalty

crossposted at dailyKos and at docuDharma

This from AP should bring cheers and applause:
The New Jersey Assembly approved legislation Thursday to abolish the state's death penalty, making Gov. Jon S. Corzine's signature as the only step left before the state becomes the first in four decades to ban executions.

Lawmakers voted 44-36 to replace the death sentence with life in prison without parole. Corzine, a Democrat, has said he will sign the bill within a week.

This is a fantastic victory by abolitionists in New Jersey, and something that should inspire those in the other states.

The vote comes as state executions across the US are on hold until the Supreme Court decides the lethal injection challenge.

Break out the champagne!!

Details on the vote now at Blue Jersey.

WaPo suggests the victory had its roots in the state's finances:
The repeal bill follows the recommendation of a state commission that reported in January that the death penalty "is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency." But equally persuasive to lawmakers was not saving lives but money -- it costs more to keep a prisoner indefinitely on death row than incarcerated for life.

And Reuters adds:
In New Jersey, a legislative commission in January 2007 recommended abolishing the death penalty, saying there was no clear evidence it deterred the worst crimes, and that it was "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency."

I am so very pleased with this! This is the best good news I've had all week! I hope you all are enjoying this even a tenth as much as I am!!

martes, diciembre 11, 2007

Blogs: Is Anyone Reading?

This will be quick. Today I asked about 90 potential jurors if they wrote or read blogs. Know what? There were 3 or 4 who read blogs; one who wrote one. The rest either didn't know what a blog was, or had never read one. Is this possible? Were the jurors lying? I doubt it. I know the sample is small and unscientific, but I never would have suspected that blog readership was such a small fraction of seemingly normal people. It doesn't seem to be a small fraction when we read blogs and write them, but I guess, when all is said and done, most people still haven't read their first blog entry.


sábado, diciembre 08, 2007

Solidarity With The WGA

The Writers' Guild of America (WGA) is still on strike. And the news is pretty bad. The AMPTP has broken off negotiations. This means that the strike is likely to be prolonged. And it means that more pressure has to be brought on the media moguls for the writers to prevail in their struggle.

It's difficult to know how to support our striking brother and sister writers. There are little things we can do. These include posting a badge on our blogs like the one to the right of this story. Or writing to management to complain. Or making a small donation by buying pencils for moguls.

What's the strike about? There's a great video:

And, of course, if you post on the large, political blogs in Left Blogistan, it's a good idea to try to rally support. Here are my efforts at dailyKos and docuDharma, my favorite. If you have other favorites, you might want to try to talk this up.

Solidarity with the WGA!

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domingo, diciembre 02, 2007


Melodious Blackbird

I sat under the flowering tree with a cold beer bottle in my hand, and to my surprise, I saw a bird on the ground near the wall. It was unable to fly. When I approached it, it flapped its right wing awkwardly, and fell pathetically and defenselessly on its side. Then it tried desperately to scramble away from me. It wasn’t able to. It’s wing was broken. It had a greenish tint to its ruffled neck and was otherwise plain brown. I don’t know what kind of bird it was. I imagined because its body was so ordinary that it was one of those birds with a beautiful, heartrending song. I left it alone, hoping that maybe it would regain its strength, or it would be rescued by its mother, or it would somehow fly away. I hoped that the neighborhood dogs wouldn’t find it. Or the cats or the lizards or crabs. I would keep an eye on it. I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to it.
I wondered whether it had fallen from its nest in the wind or had been hit by a swaying branch in mid flight. I wondered about hope. “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.” I fell asleep in the heat in my white plastic chair. I don’t know how long I slept.
Some time later, I saw that the bird had died. It lay on the sand. It didn’t move when I touched it. It was still warm, soft, almost weightless, shiny and motionless not far from where I first saw it. I buried it in my yard. It didn’t need a very big hole.
I wondered what this meant, if this inexplicable, silent death and burial might be a coded message of some kind. But I had no idea what it could mean or who would have sent it or if it were addressed to me. I didn’t think any more about the poem.

from a novel in progress

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