Bird Watcher
    Mark McKain
He stared at the ceiling. "The mockingbirds are loud this morning."

"Does that mean you'd rather listen to them?" she said.

"I saw a line of Brant's geese go by yesterday."

"Tell me what you're thinking," she said.

"The first morning --- three jack rabbits in the backyard." His hand made humps in the air. "They're so mechanical."

"Talk to me," she said.

"They were honking. Calling to each other. Only five of them. A family I guess."

"Quit talking about ducks. Tell me your secrets. When were you last in love."

"I'm a boring person," he said.

"Have you ever hit anyone?" she asked.

"Look. An acorn woodpecker on the roof. Get out of here." He shoved her out of the way, jumped off the bed and waved his arms. "Get out of here you fucking little feather head." His teeth cut the air. His lips curled. "I hate those things. They'll destroy the roof. What were we talking about?" He looked down.She sat on the floor, the top button of her jeans undone.

"I asked if you ever hit a woman."

"No. I'd never do that. It's wrong. Evil." A burst of starlings erupted from an orange tree. "One time I did hit Helen on the shoulder, though. We were about to break up. It bruised a little."

He watched the feathers of a black bird turn iridescent purple and green as it strutted through a patch of sun. "Oh, and I had my hands around Audrey's throat. But she was emotionally abusive. Got off on pushing me too far. I'd never do it again."

"I hate that." She wrinkled her chin and squinted her eyes.

"Didn't something like that happen to you recently," he said looking up at a drifting red-tailed hawk.

"I don't want to talk about it. Now what are you looking at?" Her hand hovered in the air.

"Scrub jay. Can't you hear him screech?"

He grabbed her hand and jerked her onto the bed. He pinched her soft shoulder like he was pulling flesh from the bone. He crooked her neck between his bicep and forearm and pushed her lips into his mouth. She made muffled noises as she struggled to kiss him. He thought she sounded like a ring-billed gull barking for a crust.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...