Later, the birds would find what I’d planted in crooked bins before it could die of thirst. That’s the thing about birds. I put out a feeder, and they littered my balcony with seeds, squabbled like downstairs neighbors come the first. The little ones drove off the pretty ones. I was happy just to watch and pretend I was mayor of Feather Town, but I was more like the janitor. I saw a woman walking in long squares around the parking lot every day, fists up. I wanted to tell her no one ever got rich from working hard, but I’ve got my own route to plan. Loud sex like an unbalanced washing machine for a solid fifteen seconds. No wonder they’re walking it off. A cheerful sprint to the car, after. Music all the way up on the way to the donut shop. I won’t say it’s envy. It’s not that I think I’m better than anyone else. When I put the feeder away, the birds came to scream at my balcony door. It’s something like that, something about expectations like gravity. And people slowing to stare as you try to change the math.
CL Bledsoe was raised on a rice and catfish farm in eastern Arkansas and is the author of more than twenty-five books, including the poetry collections Riceland, Trashcans in Love, Grief Bacon, and his newest, The Bottle Episode, as well as his latest novels Goodbye, Mr. Lonely and The Saviors. Bledsoe co-writes the humor blog How to Even, with Michael Gushue located here: https://medium.com/@howtoeven. He’s been published in hundreds of journals, newspapers, and websites that you’ve probably never heard of. Bledsoe lives in Northern Virginia with his daughter.
Pigeons in Paris
Sherry Shahan watches the world and its people from afar; whether on the backstreets of Havana, a squat hotel room in Paris, or a bicycle in bustling Bogota. Her photography has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and literary journals. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and taught a creative writing course for UCLA for 10 years.