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The Trajectory of Birds

by Tom Vowler

Outside the bar where you break up the journey to visit your dying father, a swallow hits the tarmac. It is late summer and you are alone at a small table. There is nothing to be done – the creature perished in a wingbeat – and so you spoon it into a hand and place it in the hedge opposite. The other birds scythe the air and you wonder what went so badly wrong here, what aeronautic error occurred. And then you wonder what if this wasn’t a misjudgement: what if swallows too feel the weight of living?