City Birds

There is a swooping cacophony in the trees above the sidewalk.

Who’s to say when the blue jays leave town, but their return cannot be missed. They’ve spent their vacation sipping umbrella drinks, oiling their feathers to a fine sheen. Returning home they find the neighborhood in disarray. They careen from peak of roof to tip of branch scolding and bossing us slackers back into shape. The crows, hardly willing to be outdone, add their outraged caw-caw to the rat-a-tat harangue of the jays.

Below the noisy trees, there’s an early 20th century apartment building that was a handsome hotel in its day. No matter the weather, there are windows left open to release the steam from the rattle and bang radiators. On the ledge of an ever-open window on the second floor, a cage of canaries chirps a fervent melody from behind a camellia. It’s my last sound of nature before the bus tires screech, I step in, and the doors swoosh shut.

I’m transported to the office where, for the rest of the day, I peek around corners to see a bit of sky. Streaming internet birdsong, I contemplate the canaries.

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