Afternoon Recess, Rendered in Birds by Joe Kapitan

September 15, 2011 Comments Off on Afternoon Recess, Rendered in Birds by Joe Kapitan

Sparrows in puddles, kicking water. Laughing, lobbing music at each other like manic wind chimes.

Peacock leans against the monkey bars, preening into a compact. Why has no one told her she has dark roots?

Vulture spirals in place, genetically drawn to the wavelengths of wind chimes.

Some Sparrows crowd the one with the Oreos, scattering wrapper and crumbs.

Peacock checks her cell phone for messages.

Vulture lifts his scope. He can almost make out the ingredients on the wrapper.

Sparrows swing, or dig in the sandbox. One bullies, another cries in pain, some feathers have been lost in the process. Soft, downy, intimate ones.

Peacock wishes he would call her. Or at least text. At least that.

Vulture sips a Red Bull and waits. Vulture has perfected waiting.

The bullied Sparrow hides himself in the tire stacks to avoid his attacker, who wanders off to join a kickball game already in progress.

Peacock decides that if he does call again, she’ll put out next time, just like her best friend does, the one with the busier cell phone.

Vulture’s maroon Chevy Cavalier is parked exactly five hundred and one feet away from the Sparrows. That distance is legally significant.

There goes the bell that calls the Sparrows, but one, back to their cage. They are altogether dirty and loud, ill-positioned for quiet time.

Peacock follows the Sparrows, thanking a god it’s Friday. She resents them. They are filthy and carefree, which reminds her of Kevin, who reminds her of college, which reminds her of those wings she forgot back at the sorority house.

Vulture, in contrast, never forgets anything. He can describe to you the plumage of the one that’s still hiding in the tires. Vulture eases the car seat back and rehearses the lines he uses on wounded Sparrows.

© 2011 Joe Kapitan

Joe Kapitan wanders northern Ohio. He works often, writes sometimes, is published occasionally in places like elimae, Smokelong Quarterly, PANK, Emprise Review and Annalemma.

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