Lifebird

I am peering at my moon-weary face in an isosceles shard
of mirror that seems more suited to stabbing a man in the
throat than as an aid to shaving, and I do not smile. The
razor makes an effort, attempting to circumvent its bluntness
by engaging in a tug of war with each crusty, beer-gilded
hair. In the mirrorweapon, I see myself wince as the clumps
are yanked from the follicles. The sharp early morning air
does not help, but I finish and roll a cigarette. Anne told me
that today might be the beginning of a new life for me. If
new lives begin like this, she can shove it. The clock on the
church in the cemetery where I sleep says 5:50 a.m. My
cigarette tastes bad, so I flick the ember and twirl the butt
in my fingers. Very little to do but wait. The interview is at
9:45. I remind myself that not all housing officers are cunts.
A jay hops and jitters towards the grave of Captain
Ninyon Masters, on my left, and I am tempted to rifle the
fag butt at it, but I remember, from an age ago, that corvids
have a theory of mind, according to some researchers, so
I keep twirling, and watch. After a couple of seconds,
the jay flies a few feet and settles on Ninyon Masters’
headstone. Bloody disgrace, I think, for this headstone is
mine, literally, I use it as a pillow, and as a windbreak. The
jay is unaware of my absurd resentment, according to
some other researchers, and remains still, looking hard at
my freshly shaved countenance. Maybe it sees something
that I do not. A different me. I grin. Ninyon Masters
belongs to the jay now. I have things to do.

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