Please, honey, please sit. I can explain. Yes, this on the table. Just set down our beers. Don’t get the bartender. I’ll make it clear.
See, I’m good, yes? I’m kind, yes? I’m moral or trying or something, yes?
That day on the walking, bright sunny day walking, trees overheard, walking, I see jackdaws, yes? Bold blackcaws, yes? A pair eating, so happy, so light munchy snacking. A gray thing they’re grazing, and still I am walking, still closer, still talking, saying “Hello, how are you?” and “What’s that you’ve got?” Their eyes, they are beading, and I am not seeing, still happy dumb bright as the jackdaws are creeping to the gray thing they’re eating, and still it is breathing.
And still it is breathing.
Feathers appear. Pink breast bare. And oh, poor pigeon, poor dove, you are dying.
Why do I not carry a knife? Can’t see my own hands ending a life?
I’m pathetic. Merely empathetic.
I look back to the pigeon, poor pigeon, poor dove, see blood pillow where feathers are missing. I’m useless, so useless, gone, I am going. Can’t look at the jackdaws, the hackmaws, the lacklaws. Poor pigeon, poor dove, both living and dying. And me with no knife, no killing inside.
That night, I read that pigeons and doves only differ in English.
That night, I read that jackdaws mate for life. Like us. Husband. Wife.
That night, I put a corkscrew in my purse. Just in case.
And look, I know how it sounds, don’t you think that I know? But when you went to the bar, I saw there in the corner, the dim pubby corner, stuffed fox in the corner had a dove in its mouth. Poor pigeon, poor dove, it’s breathing, it is. The poor thing is breathing, and I’m good, yes? I’m kind, yes? I’m moral and trying, and this bird is still dying. That’s why I have placed it here on our table. That’s why I have corkscrew in hand. That’s why I must end this poor pigeon, poor dove. I know they’re all staring, the slackjaws in here, but help me, please, help me kill something well.
K.A. Nielsen is a writer living in Sweden though she has also called the southern U.S., Turkey, and Indonesia home.