The Bird Funeral

by

07/27/2006

52nd St. between Park and Madison Aves., NY, Ny 10022

Neighborhood: Midtown

This morning I saw a dead bird on 52nd Street. It was lying on its back on the sidewalk in between Park and Madison Avenues, in front of a Duane Reade Pharmacy. Its feet were in the air. At first I wasn’t sure if it was dead. It looked like it was just dozing, sunning its chest and staring at the sky, much like a person does at the beach.

It wasn’t a New York bird, black and greasy and fat off of restaurant waste and dropped hot dog buns. It looked more like a bird you would see out in the country, in the hills of New Hampshire or Vermont, with brown wings, soft-looking tan feathers on its belly, and a tiny patch of red right on top of its head. It seemed like a bird that would sing. It made me realize that pigeons don’t sing.

I only saw the dead bird for a second as I walked by, my heels clipping fast against the pavement. I didn’t stop because I wanted to get a cup of coffee before heading into the office. At the corner, I waited at a light and wondered how the bird had died. It looked so perfect I thought maybe it had just dropped, like a stone or a tear, out of the sky, but most likely it had flown into a window.

I thought about ducking into a store and asking for a shoebox. I could pick up the bird, using a tissue as a shroud, and put it inside—a cardboard casket. Then I could walk to the park and bury it at the base of a tree or under a leafy bush. I could use a stick to dig the hole, scraping and scratching into the earth until it was deep enough. I could leave something behind as a marker, an earring or a shiny silver coin.

I imaged going to work, my stockings shredded and my nails caked with dirt, and telling my boss that I was late because I had to conduct a bird funeral. But then the light changed, and I crossed the street.

Comments
Rate Story
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

§ Leave a Reply

Other Stories You May Like

Nearby Midtown Stories

Stillman’s Gym: The Center of the Boxing Universe

by

The name: Stillman’s Gym still is magical to old ring veterans–rapidly vanishing–but it’s mostly just a revered icon like Jack [...]

The Empire State Building Loves Me

by

The day before my birthday was beautiful. It was one of those clear summer days in New York that somehow [...]

Almost Feeding the Hungry

by

Jeff Kyle, Jr. is a bridge and tunneler whose urge to provide for the city’s hungry goes unfulfilled.

Let them Eat Celery

by

The Conde Nast Cafeteria

Cy’s Place

by

The voice on the phone is asking what I see, and since this is the third time we’ve spoken, I’m [...]