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Dead Bird

(August 29, University City)

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The dead bird lies on its back, where the red brick of the apartment building meets the burnt and unkempt grass, in a position that might be comfortable if not for the fact that it's dead. It has been there, slowly deflating, for a week, maybe two.

The dead bird is merely one of the many things my dog shouldn't have anything to do with — along with Styrofoam take-out boxes, chicken bones and other dogs' poop. Just one more thing that compels me to tug at her leash.

The dead bird doesn't care about the sweaty guy riding by on his bike singing what I think is "Shining Star" in what I think is Arabic. It doesn't care about the guy in his mechanic's outfit, suffering under the hood of his eternally broken-down van. It doesn't care about the elderly Asian women who exercise in the park in their underwear.

The dead bird doesn't care. But every time I pass it I feel a twinge, like maybe something's tugging on my leash, and it strikes me that I might have missed something.

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