by Angel Zapata
Seventy-eight year-old, Lillian often dreams of murder. The doctors speak of her mind as caught between the bygone and the lost, but she’s never forgotten the body in the snow. Who was that man? She wonders before her thoughts flutter away. Brenda, the nurse at her bedside, taps Lillian’s left arm vein and draws blood.
“How’s little bird this evening?” Brenda chirps.
Lillian frowns, struggles to communicate.
“Take your time.” Brenda releases the tourniquet and applies a band-aid.
“The crow,” Lillian blurts.
“Ah, yes,” Brenda agrees. “I’ll bring him to you.” She retrieves the scrapbook from the bedside tray, opens to the page with a pasted black feather, and sets it on Lillian’s lap. “You have a good night, little bird.” She winks and exits the room.
Lillian fingers the foreign texture of absent wings. It comes to her, this overwhelming need to view the sky. She’s not entirely sure how she knows the American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos, has an average body length of 17-21 inches. A vocation as ornithologisthenpecks memory, briefly seeds failing brain cells.
She climbs out of bed, shuffles to the window. The iron bars of the prison hospital throw shadows in the snow outside.
She doesn’t remember killing the man in the woods or sprinkling birdseed over bullet holes in his chest.
In her dreams, a bird circles above her head and drops a scrapbook feather in her hands moments before the crows feast on a husband who cheated one too many times.