Jesse Jarnow

dead bird, no. 10

(Being an attempt to write short fiction in even shorter increments…)

dead bird, no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

“Don’t ever think about that,” Monica told me, still drunk, as I made my way towards the bedroom. I wasn’t sure what she was talking about, if it was an instruction to me, or a statement about her own powers of thought.

I craved a return to the life I’d made: working at the coffee shop, jogging every afternoon, getting eight hours of sleep a night. I realized I still did most of these, though no longer had the boundless interior tundra I might wander without Monica watching.

“Ever?” I asked, as I closed the door.

“Ever,” she confirmed.

And so, of course, I thought about it. I thought about the dead bird like Monica told me not to, and what it meant that — a full three weeks into its dismemberment — its wings were now perfectly opposed to one another, as if in flight, albeit with two feet of sidewalk between them. I dreamt of the beach by the lighthouse, its beam chasing me as I swam.
Monica was still sitting at the table in the morning, awake. I could not tell if she’d slept.

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