Sitting here at the kitchen table, looking out at a bird feeder I've forgotten to fill. It's a cold Sunday morning in Charleston. I'm sipping coffee while the baby sleeps in my arm. My other kid takes stickers from her book and places them on me: each one, she tells me, is a gift. I'm making a list of things we need, of things to get done. I must choose, with my free hand, between pen and coffee mug. Each movement is a risk. I want to write that I should read more, travel, maybe fish. But the clouds part and sunshine fills the room; the baby's face scrunches. My little girl looks at her now empty sticker book and begins to cry. I hug her in one arm and rock the baby with the other. A black bird lands on the feeder. It's been here before and seems glad to find no other birds. It pecks at the feeder, although it's clearly empty. The bird twitches. He's close enough that he can see us, sitting here. I notice his eyes, impossibly clear and brown. He pauses, moving his head, looking. For a moment it seems like he doesn't want to leave. But the baby is awake, screaming, and I know when I look out my window again the bird will be gone.
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