March 26, 2015 Comments Off on Springtime in the Courtyard of a Picturesque University By Emily Eckart
A cherry tree is blooming in the corner of the green. Brick buildings’ upper corners punctuate the sky. Office windows shine like mirrors, reflecting round, and white clouds.
Students sit at tables, type on laptops, chat in groups. Petals from the cherry tree drift over their heads — petals and something else: feathers. Scholars walk the asphalt runway, down and petals floating over them, as if to signify their thoughts.
In the top of the cherry tree sits a hawk. It jerks its head up and down, left and right. The robin in its talons has a gash in its breast. With each thrust of the hawk’s beak, newly-torn entrails dangle like threads. Partly alive, the robin trembles. Feathers scatter in the warm spring breeze.
Rabbits scamper beneath the rhododendrons, eyes wide and wet, noses twitching. They nibble on new grass, retreating when students approach.
A baby rabbit sits in the open, near a picnic table. Unlike its elders, it is utterly still. It does not move when a squirrel explores nearby. Its brown fur looks soft, like cashmere.
Four men come to move the table. They look down, see the rabbit, falter. One man stoops to poke it. It tips over, stiff.
“You just killed a bunny,” his friend says.
“I saw a fly on it.”
“Get a body bag.” They laugh. The first man makes a call on his walkie-talkie.
They flip the picnic table, balance it on a dolly, and roll it away. A janitor arrives with a black garbage bag. He covers his hands with the bag’s edges so he does not touch the rabbit. He shakes the rabbit in and ties a knot. He deposits the bag in the dumpster behind the cherry tree.
Clouds drift through false skies in office windows. Students sit at tables, type on laptops, chat in groups. Daffodils and tulips nod calmly in the breeze.
© 2014 Emily Eckart
Emily Eckart studied music and English Literature at Harvard University. Her stories have appeared in Potomac Review, Literary Orphans, and elsewhere.