Under Shade

In the morning comes disorder, 

fresh magnetic sounds flooding outside

my window. In the meat

of a forty-foot Blue Spruce are 

battle cries, and

birds suddenly begin to rain down in chase,

black, blue, and white, like a paint palette tipped

too far. 

I step outside,

investigating as 

something pulls my eyes to the ground; 

at my feet

gasping for life,

lies a magpie with 

fuzz on her head. 

She’s soft, scintillating, 

and dying.

Not a tiny bird,

likely a teen,  

her slow

pulsing white chest, 

eyes clamped but twitching next to my shoe. 

The shouts from the others are now 

across the street, near Gabriel’s yard, high in 

Cottonwood branches, six of her magpie clan

death-taunt a broad-bodied ebony crow. 

Her tribe surrounds the outsider, 

taking off across the sky in pursuit, they stab, bite, 

protest for their form of justice. 

Back on the ground, only seconds have passed,

all the time necessary for

her to have finally stopped breathing.

A quietness presents itself.

Breifly I consider a burial, but she’s already under her home,



under the shade of the spruce.

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