Friday, April 13, 2012

Rite of Spring

A pair of Robins. One lays on the road, breast up, her fragile neck no match for the passing farm vehicles and minivans. Her live mate swoops and waits airborne, and the morning passes with cars and trucks too heavy for the road slowly grinding the little carcass into the blacktop, red breast no more.

My father is this bird waiting for his mate to rise again, her brain filled with blood. He flies to her side on the city bus twice a day and darts into her room in the neurosciences ward at VGH. He swoops behind her curtain and waits, places his large hand on her shrinking head. She smiles in her sleep but eats little. I say like a bird, and he reminds me birds eat many times their body weight each day. I adjust my analogy. She eats like a person who is not convinced she wants to keep on going with this particular charade.

Some days she smiles up at him when he comes in and they look at each other, what is there to say, they are both run over by sadness. She can't speak and so he holds her small hand or reads to her and tries to understand what her experience is. If she knows the difference between here and home, between black top and black hats, if she remembers about spring and Robins and how they hang together even when one is struck down.

The black top is not as solid as it seems. From her vantage point, the dead Robin can see it is many small rocks held together by tar that overtime shrinks away. And so it is possible to come apart and disappear in to the spaces in between, bones crushed upon impact, organs pulverized by tires, feathers damp with rain and demolished. The lucky ones taking flight on the spring breeze swooping and soaring across nearby blueberry fields in search of city buses.


Dreaming said...

Oh, how beautifully written. How touching.
This is my Dad's story, too.

stacee said...

So perfectly written, Rowan. Just lovely, and heartbreaking, and moving.

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