Melodie Corrigall

The Dead Bird

We found the dead bird when we were unpacking the trunk. It was amongst my aunt’s things.
She usually released them when they died but she had chosen to keep this one. He lay in his box
as pristine and jeweled as if asleep.

We studied his small remains for clues. My aunt had kept him. Stiff, brown, beautiful bird, he was to be saved.

“Perhaps he may still live,” said my father, mutely. He tenderly lifted the taut body and held it in his calloused hand. At his bidding, we brought sweet seeds. Father gently coaxed open the hard yellow beak and gifted the seeds down the bird’s throat.

More than food is needed, his fragile spirit must be warmed, we all thought. Things must be warm if they are to live.

My father laid him, beautiful russet creature, on a tender bed as cozy as a beating heart. His beak, held open with food, was a golden nook of rubies and emeralds.

For seven days, he rested there, our bird. My father had put food in his beak and sheltered him in a soft place so we expected he would live again. We held our peace.

When we returned the morning of the seventh day our stiff brown bird had transformed. His cradle vibrated with life.

Where he had lain with open beak of red and green jewels, he rested softly. He was pink and beautiful; his laughter a gurgling pre-thought, pre-care, pre-love, life-laugh.

Some of us said it was strange. Some were frightened and looked away. But he remained before us. He turned his still unseeing eyes and reached out his moist ephemeral hands to us.

“He is beautiful,” isn’t he, one said and then, at last, everyone looked, and smiled.




Melodie Corrigall is an eclectic Canadian writer whose work has appeared in Litro UK, Foliate Oak, Emerald Bolts, Earthen Journal, Still Crazy, Free Fall, Six Minute Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, Corner Bar and The Write Place at the Write Time