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Bird Blood

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Scritch, scratch, flutter.

A bird in the chimney. We’ll have to get the nest out before we start lighting fires this fall.

The dogs and the cat sniff and investigate.

Flutter, scritch-scratch.

No, a bird in the actual wood stove. Hm. Structured as metal cylinder with a window of old mica, the stove is such that we can’t see inside, but we know the bird is there. Its wings whisper against the metal and its feet and beak scrape against the sides.

“Should I open it and take a look?”

“Only if you want a bird in the house instead of in the stove.”

Unlatch, creak, the door opens. The dogs are on alert, and the cat springs. It is in her mouth in an instant.

But because she is a cat, she is less interested in a quick kill than in the thrill of the catch, and she lets the injured avian go. We don’t know its fate. Had she dealt it a bite from which it could not recover? Is it dying somewhere under the furniture?

A few hours later, I hear fluttering again, and I think perhaps it is outside the kitchen window, until my eyes are drawn upward and I see the bird sitting on top of a large kettle on the shelf above my head. The cat also hears and sees and is on the prowl again. The bird flits down lower, a disastrous mistake. The cat pounces and has it in her mouth again, and this time the bird does not recover. After she plays her deadly game a while, we take her toy away, noticing that rigor has begun to set in. The bird goes in the trash can, and the cat licks her paws and blinks in a self-satisfied way.

Only later do I notice the bird blood on my floor. I’ll have to mop that up. Until I get the chance, it is a reminder of kitty’s first bird.

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About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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