A journal of narrative writing.
The Muting Stones

Your birds have gone silent since they gobbled small quartz stones that jeweled the ditch bank. Now they no longer scavenge for bugs or corn, but slouch on fence poles, eyeing the scales of rust that feather the blade of my shovel. The neighbor’s dog sings the pitch and key of every siren night releases once tools have been filed away and birds are folded in the branchy cover trees provide. With no sound to serve as guide, a compass will be invented from stars, the moss-bearded north face of trees. And birds try to work the kernel-sized stones from their throats as dawn lifts itself, the color of a blister, out of the long silence of mud. If you are walking then you might hear one head-cocked bird, then another, commence the music only they own, a chorus they relearn by opening their throats wide enough to let the stones that choked them fall and unleash the broken notes they can offer only when their shadows make grace notes on the ground.