The narcissist

It seemed he forgot to eat.

He forgot everything: nest, mate, the last berries now drying on the thorny vines under the evergreen trees.

All he could remember was the other bird whose feathers were so bright, so cherry red, whose beak so sharp and whose wings beat so strong, that he tried again and again to break through the glass and prove himself against it.

And so all day, every day, he visited that other bird, perching on the top of the side mirror or the door of the cars parked in the shade of a carport, then flying straight into the glass, wings beating the summer air and claws and beak tapping futilely against the surface.

But the glass always confounded him. After flying again and again at the bird in the mirror of the red SUV he flew across the gravel, tried the blue Subaru’s bird and then the one in the  mirror of a blue minivan.

And whether hunger finally overcame him or he became heedless in his obsession and fell prey to the cats who lingered there or simply brained himself against the glass I don’t know, but he met his end there in the gravel of the parking lot.

Today I saw his mate, subdued in her grey and pale red feathers, chirping by a flowerpot under the porch.

She flew away, ignoring mirrors and the birds within.

Lacking his brighter plumage, she is the wiser of the two.


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