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B.J. Olvera

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The Little Black Bird
By B.J. Olvera
Friday, June 11, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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This is a lyrical story, written with poetic rhythms within the telling of the story. The story is a true experience that I had interacting with a small black crow in my yard. It moved me so much, I had to put the experience into words in sort of a memorium spirit to the inevitable struggle of the little black bird.

THE LITTLE BLACK BIRD

I was laughing and jumping, skipping and playing, happily as the day sped past,
when all of a sudden, a speck in the corner of my eye, happened to stop my dance.
I knew I had seen it, although I did not know just what it was yet, as my eyes slowly scanned the grounds. It was as though my mind had been working so much faster than my eyes or my body in focusing on something that was just not correct in the big picture of things.

Slowly, I looked, carefully scoping out all my eyes could hold. There, all of a sudden, it was revealed, right before my very eyes. But now, my mind was the part of me that had slowed in comprehension. I could scarcely believe what I saw in this dimension. It seemed so wrong, and out of place, this little bird with such a sad face. Was it a baby, lost, asleep? Or was it grown, small and sickly, full of defeat? It was hard to tell since it was slumping and puffed up, keeping itself warm and defended in the awkward circumstances in which it now found itself.

Had it fallen out of a nearby nest? Had it been prodded and poked by the biggest and best? It looked so forlorn, and sentenced to rejection. Had the others rejected it, and deleted it from their selection by inspection? Oh, so sad, it simply sat on a low limb of a bush close to the house. It looked so weak, that it probably could not even defend itself from a mouse. Where was the rest of its family? Did they live nearby, perhaps up in that big oak tree towering into the sky?

It had to be sick, or why else would it just sit? Not defending itself, not moving a whit. It chirped not, it squawked not, it chattered, not one; it had not a friend or foe that would come. No, there was not one other bird to be seen, that would come and defend it, even though the black birdís eyes barely still gleamed within it. They blinked slowly enough you could see, the dejection and life slowly losing its way, from the little birdís body at the close of the day.

I thought I had better not dare take the chance, to hold it or pick it up, or for it my hands make a cup. I didnít want to make the poor bird suffer anymore, if it were just resting, or confused. I didnít want the other birds to render out more abuse. Out of helplessness to know what to do, I left it alone to ease its sad self; alone I left it, as if sitting on a branch shelf.


I went on my way, did my chores, and had some play, when I again noticed this poor bird had worked its way, out of the back yard and into the front flowerbed, where now it hung more lowly its pretty black head. Was it trying to get my attention and such? I didnít know what to do, how little or how much. My heart ached and yearned to make new, the spirit of the little black bird, and its body too. I talked to my neighbor and we both took note, how timid and subdued, the bird voiced not a note.

So we again went about our own chores, we did do; went down the road for a while, ran errands and ate, and came back after more than a few, as the day had turned late. When we staggered out of the car with our bags and parcels, in the deep shadow of the oak tree, there by the rock wall, was the silhouette of the little black bird hunching over so wee.
He looked barely alive, and alone he did hover, as if using the brick wall and shadows for cover. I shined my faint light along his way, to see if he still had a breath of life in him stayed. I could see his little chest, heaving oh so slightly, in the darkness of the night, so lonely.

Again, I popped off in my car, whisking myself away in the light of the moon and the stars. I just didnít know what else I could do. Why didnít his family come to take him back to their stool? I knew by now, he was dying for sure; I didnít know why, or what was the cure. I only knew he must really be sick, for all the other animals sensed it, as you could hear the snap of each stick, stepped on by me and my friends as we wondered, how much more time the little black bird had to squander.

In an hour or so, we returned unaware, that the little black bird would still be waiting just there, where we left it in the chilling minutes before, when out of the little black bird did life soar. I am sorry little black bird that you got sick. I am sorry that I couldnít help you as you weakly sat on that stick. I wish I could have reached out to you, and offered some help in a way that was true . I didnít touch you, caress you, or carry, your frail little body away from the yard, where you were so familiar, and comfortable now with your body so hard. I knew not what to do for you, I now vow. I am sorry that you had to hobble so far, from beyond the fence, across the yard, and down the wall, from upon which I hope you didnít fall.

But there now, your little body lies, permanently horizontal with the sidewalk beneath it; maybe tomorrow, Iíll make you a wreath on it. I hope God will come tonight and carry you away from here, for I know you are gone, of that I am now clear. I hope your soul will rest in peace, upon a great oak tree in Heaven, where you can do far more for me, than just watch as I am leavened. The electric blue is now gone from your eyes, and your feathers, but this small experience knowing you came to my yard, I will treasure. I know God puts many an animal and tree, bushes and flowers too, around me to view. I love each and every one in its own natural beauty, and I feel I should take more responsibility for you and the others, as my humanly duty.

Thank you for teaching me this lesson of life little black bird. I can look and observe, and take care while things live, but I alone have no power over the life God did give.


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Reviewed by Shirley Cheng 8/24/2004
You have used your words to paint a very tender moment about life passing. I love your prose poetry. It is so beautiful and soothing, and bittersweet. Keep up the good work!