Omniscience on Route 6

By Sarina Bosco                                                                         

Peacocks make a disturbing sound—almost nightmarish, even in daylight. How strange and tiring to come home and find an exotic animal perched on the gate to the backyard. Out beyond him, the maple with the branch ruptured by lightning and the stand of pines that is too quiet for my taste. I turn instead to the dishes.

Watching him pace the yard later I think it odd that I was aware of her death before he was. They are large animals, not easy to catch, as I discovered during a moment of weakness when I used the rake as a representation of my sympathy.

She was hit across the road from my driveway, in Bob’s front yard. Bob attends church every Sunday and has invited me to the potluck. He has a large white shepherd and a wife who doesn’t leave the house. The female’s body, unlike her noisy mate’s, is an unexciting dun color. I would have missed her if not for the length of her throat exposed on the curb. I wonder if the skin is pimpled the way a chicken’s is, if there is nothing more than meat, really, covering that small fist of a heart.

For two days he roams the area. At night he cries out from my neighbor’s roof, and I remember then—suddenly awake—trying to keep the cigar tree branches flowering in jars, on bookcases, in the windows. The white of them disappearing in the night. For a few days desperate and spreading the blossoms across my thighs. I move to the window to be sure that her body is still there, weighted under the constellations.

I am gone for most of it, but I hear his form weaving through the pines—the sound of his searching lost in the layers of needles. Walking back to the house at twilight I know that he will find her. His small black eye turning and catching the ruffle of feathers. Something will swell in his breast—not hope, but a primitive vibration. A soundless call. He will find her and try to get to her. And in doing so, lose his life.

I know the moment that he has seen her through the passing cars. The dishes need to be washed again.

 

Sarina Bosco is a chronic New Englander and part-time gardener. When not writing, she can be found pursuing academics, hiking trails, and growing tomatoes. Her work has previously appeared in The Missing Slate, The Cider Press Review, and The Little Patuxent Review

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