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