birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Bird Cry

I don’t know what kind of bird it is. I like to think it is a mockingbird, but, of course, a mockingbird could mimic it the way they do car alarms and squeaky screen doors. Once I listened to a mockingbird sing song after song. Each one was different. Each one another form of city racket that it picked up from downtown Birmingham. It sang as if it had to get through all of them before it could rest for the night. But they were endless and the bird sang until 3 am or later. I finally fell asleep. So maybe I don’t want it to be a mockingbird with its fierce territorial way of swooping at me like I’m an actor in The Birds just because I walked too close to its nest. No the bird cry is high pitch more of a cry than a song. Maybe a blue-jay. It sounds something like a swing’s high sigh the way it repeats one long then another shorter one. Or maybe that’s what I associate it with. Every time I hear it, I’m five again, swinging on the swing-set between the rock shop and my parent’s trailer. I’m looking up into the triangular spaces that tree branches always frame the sky into. The sun is out and I swing through beams of it, in and out. And there’s that bird cry shooting like an arrow somewhere up above me, somewhere I want to swing up and into. And then I am there, not with the bird so much as with its call, up above, shooting, then soaring.

3rd and San Pedro