Old bird died today. And all that he was trying to do was tip-toe across the road on a lazy Friday midnightly hour to get to the other side and along came a booming ghost of a highway-truck, one of those that could traffic a whole community out of the country and in, only, carrying a community’s leftovers and Thursday trash to be incinerated into wheezy air or stealthily recycled to resemble fraudulent newness. And as this thundering bandwagon that wholesomely represented the city’s smells and effluents, spewed chewed apples and newspapers and left a trail of tumbling crashy bottles as it bing-a-bogged along, the boozy driver that just couldn’t get the reek out of his nose despite a failed attempt to remove anything remotely nose-like on him, did not see old bird perform a walking-thinker in the middle of the road. As the foulness had spilled into his words and he cussed and turned the pages of blasphemy after blasphemy at his “Government-job”, a momentary “kachak” went unnoticed in a wind, weighed down by the city-left-behind, the angry jowls of a wage earner and the sudden swish of upturned dog-ears, comeuppance of drowsy but still hungry eyes in the vicinity. And a part of old bird was stuck to a dirty black wheel of the monster truck. It left an imprint of him in every turn, like a baby fascinated with a father’s new stamp pad and signature embossed on cut-rubber. A one. Old bird one. A two. Old bird two! And how majestic he looked, even as a bloody rubber stamp on the tarmac! With wings spread out like about to take flight, beak to the right, pointed at the end, and claws clutching to no one knew what, looking as menacing as it had looked when he was alive. And at the spot where the real old bird lie smashed and broken, there was a little crowd of hunger. Dogs and old bird’s lineages danced about in an equal ribaldry; one could not say who was happy now that he was gone or who was sad and yet was happy. It was a moment of confused emotions, hunger gnawing at sadness, sadness nibbling at momentary pleasure, pleasure biting the tail off anger and anger fed by hunger, like a food chain. And all that old bird had been trying to do was cross the road, like he always did, in contemplation of the years that had passed and the years that he so-so expected to come; nobody wanted to die of a garbage truck or to be splatter-printed on tarmac! And he had done it so many times, you know! Cross the road once. Get to the other side. And realize that the other side is on the other side. And cross it again. And he knew that some day, he would get to the other side. Some day.
Instead, he was carried along. Like monograms on tar. Like birds and people. Like lives. And now that he was a part of everywhere, and the road boomed of more and more garbage trucks, and the morning was breaking like a shiny translucent window, the dogs ran away and the birds flew away to snatch and snap at a solitary mudflipper.
I woke to this shiny window morning and marveled at the patterns on the road. I gave the old bird his funeral. I gave him my love.