I Shot A Mockingbird
March 2, 2011 § Leave a comment
I think I killed him but I don’t know. It was five in the morning. He’d been sitting right outside my window every night for months, singing. Like one of those car alarms that switches up every 5 seconds. Different songs. Not nightingale songs, either, but rather our abrasive local birds. Jays and tits. Grackles. I would turn on all the fans in my house to drown him out but that treble cuts right though. I put earplugs in but you roll around on your pillow and they either jam painfully into your eardrum or, if they’re the silicone kind, they roll out and get stuck in your hair.
I had almost made my peace with him, but then yesterday I got chewed out hard at work and had to wake up early to work on this big pain-in-the-ass project, and I was just stressed out, spending the whole night just barely on the verge of sleep. And every time I was just about to get there, here comes the fucking mockingbird. I have this BB gun, a big rifle with a scope on it leaning against the wall in the closet and the fucking thing was just crying out to me. Use me. Use me to kill this bird. This is what I am for.
So I put my pants on and went out with the gun. Pumped it up, lined him up in the scope, and shot him. He fell, struggling to fly, managed to slow himself down before he hit the ground and then even get back up in the tree again but it was clear that he was fucked up. His flight was all arhythmic and slow and he kept crashing into the branches. I don’t know if he got his shit together and flew away or what; I went back to bed. He stopped singing. There was a crew putting up a fence under his tree in the morning so I couldn’t go see if his body was there.
I keep being haunted by the image of this bird flailing, almost crashing into the ground, and then barely struggling back up. I wonder if I got one of his primaries or something. Now he won’t be able to fly properly again. He’ll be fucked up and slowly starve to death; get eaten by some animal. I went on the internet today and read about mockingbirds. Nesting season starts in February and the male just picks a spot and sings and sings until he finds a mate. If one never comes, he just keeps singing. That’s why he was doing it for so long. This bird was just like me. Just a sad, lonely bird doing the only thing he knew how to do and now he’s crippled and starving and I did it to him, because I had a bad day at work. Maybe he was just about to get a mate and now he can’t sing anymore.
I’m sorry, mockingbird. I’m sorry I killed you.
I guess that’s it.