The killings

I watched them for hours; they stood out there in the cold: I could see them from the room where they had left me in alone and I wanted to yell at them because I could see the dead birds they had lined up in a row on the edge of the road and when the guns sounded I covered my ears, but I could see the birds falling and I knew that not all of them they would find because the trees caught many of them and they did not drop even through the winter branches. It was very ugly. Later they lifted me and carried me out to see them: some had no heads and there was one whose wing had been shot away It’s only practice they said we’re going hunting in the morning early we’d like to take you but we’ll be out where the going’s tough even for us and we couldn’t carry you then...and you can’t shoot—we’ll teach you when we come back tomorrow. I wanted to reach one of their guns but they had taken them back to Grandmother who said Did you boys do good...did my boys do really good? in my head I had the time to shoot them over and over for days I shot at them and they ran without arms and legs one bird had lost both legs I counted the birds over and over until the number was the only thing left besides the blood that was on their feathers and that was in my dreams I screamed until Mother took me into the bed with her. When they came back the next day they had taken nothing and they shot at birds again: the hawks circled them and when I saw the hawks I had to hide because I knew the hawks would be killed too and emptied of their blood on the road and put with the robins until they were all counted and then pushed over the edge into the weeds in the bottom of the ditch.

 ~ David Alexander McFarland ~

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