Just Now

By Lesley Stanley Roberts

March 6, 2023

Just Now

On a morning when I need you most, the cardinal appears in the dead bush we meant to pull last spring. His round frame hefty, feathers tight to his bobbing body, as if he’s the beating heart of the gray yard. I hear the familiar pew pew pew of his call like the sounds of arcade games we’d play on a night out. Whiskey and coke on your breath, and for a moment too brief, the taste of a kiss, crisp, unique —you, fills my mouth.

This isn’t his first visit, and I make sure it isn’t the last. I fill the feeders with cracked peanuts, sunflower seeds and cranberries, still withered but appealing. Others join him, fearless blue jays and timid finches, birds of winter who tolerate the cold better than I. The redbellied woodpecker clings to the cage where suet cakes crumble.

Our dog enjoys eating the leftovers scattered below. Some nights, he still jumps onto our bed and, ignoring the extra space, curls close. Other times, he plops down in the warmth of his own. He needs a place to grieve too.

Nestled in a defunct satellite dish outside our son’s window is an empty nest made from grass, mud, and hair, its circular shape much like the swirl atop our baby’s head. I remember lying in bed, your hand resting on my belly— you waited for that little jump. Do you feel that?

I see it, I hear it, I feel you, just now.


Lesley Stanley Roberts is a writer living and working in West Michigan. You can find her on Twitter @LesleyStanleyR.


Image by Chris F. courtesy of Pexels

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