short story
force of an avalanche llama farm
i feed seagulls
our feet feel smashed
fantasy art






Raphael and I in Beacon Hill Park. It is daylight, kids are at school only the senior with their tiny yippy dogs haunt the lanes and the paths, stopping occasionally. Seagulls and crows alight in the trees, and I drag a bag of stale and crusty rolls, rejected bread from The Nine-and-Ten Club in a plastic grocery bag, twisted and sweaty by my palms at the top. I grapple with the rolls, they are like hardened paper-mache, and toss bits to the crows. Soon seagulls fly down, struggling with their landing.

I am standing at the foot of a small hill, and the white of the birds dot the scraggly grass and branch spires of surrounding trees. A seagull, one of his feet missing, hops along the periphery. I toss the bread to him. Other seagulls attack. I toss the bread everywhere, to divert their attention, and also aim at the injured seagull. I name him Moby. The seagulls pick up on this. They see more bread diverted to him, and they peck at the footless one until he hobbles farther away. I inch closer to him, and the birds follow in a wave. I am their mama duck.

Again, I scatter crumbs, whole rolls everywhere, so masses of white separate from the single footless one, and I throw him a few crumbs, but a few seagulls always return to taunt him. The footless one is leaving. I scream, "Leave him alone you big bullies! You fuckers!"

I am so exasperated with effort and focus and failure. Raphael is drawing in his notebook, on a weathered picnic table. He abandons his work and walks over to me. "People are going to think you are crazy. Stop shouting!" he is laughing at me, and shaking his head. "But they won't leave him alone. I want him to eat."

"Birds like that are meant to die," he says, and turns away to his work.

© 1990 - 2003 Katharina Woodworth

fantasy art