In His Hand a Tiny Bird By Ashton Russell

May 7, 2015 Comments Off on In His Hand a Tiny Bird By Ashton Russell

Uncle Buck lives in the old farmhouse in Slocomb and sometimes he carves shapes out of wood. There’s nothing out here around him but cotton fields; the wood is company just the same as flesh and bone. My great granddaddy built the house back when roads were dirt and his wife had skin the color of a pearl. The house sits on cinder blocks that Mama says are older than Moses.

We climb out of the truck, we say hey but Uncle Buck only nods his response. He doesn’t talk much but maybe it’s because he is used to the silence. Mama says the woodcarving eases his mind, like sitting in the bath does her, or driving fast on empty country roads does for Daddy. I don’t know what he needs to ease his mind of but I think it has to do with the lady in the picture he keeps framed by his bed.

Sara and I are running in the fields barefoot, the newly planted rows of cotton seeds look like tiny mountains stretching miles long. My dress is sticking to my back like someone reached down and glued it there. Mama yells for us to come on back, time to go. As I pass the barn, I see Uncle Buck inside sitting at his wood bench. He is surrounded by tigers, owls, and solid oak deer. He calls my name softly and I see in his hand a tiny bird. “It’s for you,” he says. I trace its wooden wings with my finger only recognizing much later the bird is a Raven.

© 2014 Ashton Russell

Ashton Russell lives in Birmingham, Alabama.

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