Little Birds

by Luke Otley

“The owner wants us to destroy them, so smash them on the ground.”

Jannis is holding one of three tiny blue speckled eggs.

Not on the car”

We don’t know from which bird these eggs were birthed. The nest is structurally sound, compact – made of dried grape vines.

“Do you think we can eat them?” Jannis asks.

“Just throw them on the ground man”.

Jannis lifts the sad droplet into the air – neck height. We are in between two rows of vines, early morning. The dew is still thick and the air still thin, cold. Jannis holds the egg between thumb and forefinger, looking grave, as if asked to perform an unction. Perched in Jannis’s slender fingers the egg seems almost incandesc-

CR-SPLOOP

A translucent laze of yolk and blood has appeared on the floor. I glance up. Jannis is mute, astute. He holds my gaze; he holds a second egg…

Later we find a nestless chick resting in the shade of a post. It hops away weighted by its inordinate and useless wings, unable to fly. We make estimations on how long it will last. I make my way slowly down a row of vines, lifting wires. On the ground is the decapitated corpse of a barn swallow.

Elsewhere screens suck on dull sallow faces, and torpid women wait bloated in Burger King. There’s no room in this town for little birds.