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Kingfisher


by James Claffey


Heavy mist on the Bog of Allen as a curlew sped across open space on the way to its nest. Mid-flight its cry rang out as a watery sun melted the fog, showing the curlew to be not curlew, but kingfisher, far off its mark, lost in a barren land without riverbank and stream, where long ago they had ceased to flow. How its heart shrank and the feathers glossed, the dun of curlew replaced by kingfisher's electric blue synergy. Heartbeat sped as heart size shrank to a ribcage of hollow bones. The curlew's cry froze over the open bog and morphed to the trill of the river-bird. Movement in space, flashes of vermilion, azure, crimson, beneath its body the open trenches shadowed the bird in flight as it opened its wings and took a sharp dip to the west. Under the sodden turf were ancient bones of long-dead creatures, ones that lived in a time of flying beasts with leathered wings and barbed claws. The sparkling bird summoned a breath and on the wing gave a call of sharp sorrow.


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