Resting Place

By Kate Levin

September 28, 2015

Resting Place

When we arrive at daycare, I step out of the car and close my door gently, hoping not to startle my son awake. As I open the back door to retrieve him from his car seat, I see the bird.

I gasp, but only its stillness is gruesome. Otherwise, it’s perfect—round, brown, downy, wedged between leather and metal, tucked into the space where the door opens and closes. A baby; a sparrow, I think. When I was young, we had a Christmas ornament just like it.

There is my sleeping son, and there is the dead bird.

When he was younger, just born, fear overtook me in waves. I could lose him at any time. I could lose him because I had him, and anything I had, I could lose. The logic was airtight, suffocating.

But then I would look at him, breath muscle bones, humming in motion; a system insisting on itself. Who was I to doubt it?

A clean napkin is the best I can do for a shroud. I pluck the sparrow from the backseat, amazed by its lightness and lack of resistance. A few feet away, a thick wall of green shrubbery separates us from the daycare’s yard. No one is watching. I reach in and give the bird to the branches. Through the windshield I can see my son, eyes still closed. Beneath a buckled harness, his chest rises and falls, rises and falls, rises and falls.

 

Photo "nick snoozing in his booster seat" provided by Sean Dreilinger, via Flickr.com creative commons license.

Comments (9) - Post a Comment
So absolutely beautiful. Thank you.
kathleen Cadmus at 10:04am EDT - September 28, 2015
Thank you.
Jan Priddy at 11:00am EDT - September 28, 2015
Perfect. This is one of my favorite Beautiful Things.
Laurie Easter at 11:58am EDT - September 28, 2015
nicely done! I love your parallels between the two fragile miracles.
Colleen at 12:14pm EDT - September 28, 2015
The sadness of a dead bird, an out of place dead little bird always makes the random and the deadly alive for us. And then there is your son's sleeping face . . .
Claudia Geagan at 2:46pm EDT - September 28, 2015
A stunning moment of loss and life brushing together...beautiful...
Ann Guido at 4:51pm EDT - September 28, 2015
That was so beautiful and I want to thank you for sharing.
Stephanie Iser at 3:35pm EDT - September 29, 2015
Wonderful and congrats on the Pushcart Nomination!
Kenny A Chaffin at 11:30am EDT - August 9, 2016
The poetry of prose. Stunningly beautiful, precise. Every word counts. Perfectly wrought.
Mark Hall at 10:14pm EDT - September 1, 2016


Post A Comment


Name: (*Required)
Email: (*Required)
- Not Displayed With Comment
Website:
Comment:
 

« Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow