The reason I write

The reason I write this on one of these cards is because this is where it will die. I had seen two dead adult birds further up the road, laying almost together. The baby bird I happened upon then did not startle my stride until a few paces after I had passed it with the visual memory of movement. The chick kicked its legs and its mouth wallowed noiselessly. A patron had pulled a clerk out of the store, which lay in the shade of the tree from which the chick had fallen, in order to gawk. The cries of adult birds filled the trees. Having heard that birds will not assist chicks fallen from the nest and that they would not attend to the chick if it were replaced in the nest, which I could not reach anyway, I felt it was a first step to get the bird off of the sidewalk. I picked up the bird upon a blank white card. It lay, kicking its legs out, its head turned, or cranked, too far around, its tiny black eyes, lolled glassily. A pair of fools approached, one of each sex, and began making remarks: “could be a good meal for a stray cat”, or “looks like this guy’s found a new pet.” As I assumed the impish rubbernecking of the four bystanders contained no intention of either feigning compassion or proposing a solution that might ameliorate the bird’s suffering, I cradled the chick with my palm, turned to the little band, and said, much to their bewilderment, “why don’t you get the hell away from me.” I walked a bit further up the road to deposit the chick, on the card, beneath a low hedge off of the sidewalk where it could die concealed in the shade.

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