the dead bird

by Rachna K.

I pick up the dead bird, its skin still plump, wings splayed. I remove the grass, a small tuft of hair, its smell reminiscent of the blood that flows out of me, month after month.

The backyard is covered in dew and leaves. The wind rattles the oak and stops. There are birds in its branches, calling out the dead bird, their yellow mouths open. The dead bird's skin feels like the gloved hands of the fertility specialist probing my insides. He tells me, it's all good; you need to relax and not think too much.

I start raking leaves until there's nothing but bulbs and rocks. Next to the tulips and daffodils, I bury the dead bird, press my hands over its small head and hollow bones, pushing it deeper. It doesn't move. On my last visit the doctor said, you must believe. All the birds have left. The sky is an empty, translucent shell. Like years of waiting. I'm still staring at the pile when the wind whines and with every turn, the raked leaves rise like wings and cover the dead bird. Something in my stomach shifts and settles. In distance, a new born cloud bends, touches the land.