Thursday, July 09, 2009

Two turtledoves

Oh, Lorrie Moore, no one else can write a paragraph like this!
The cold came late that fall, and the songbirds were caught off guard. By the time the snow and wind began in earnest, too many had been suckered into staying, and instead of flying south, instead of already having flown south, they were huddled in people’s yards, their feathers puffed for some modicum of warmth. I was looking for a babysitting job. I was a student and needed money, so I would walk from interview to interview in these attractive but wintry neighborhoods, past the eerie multitudes of robins pecking at the frozen ground, dun gray and stricken—though what bird in the best of circumstances does not look a little stricken—until at last, late in my search, at the end of a week, startlingly, the birds had disappeared. I did not want to think about what had happened to them. Or, rather, that is an expression—of politeness, a false promise of delicacy—for in fact I wondered about them all the time: imagining them dead, in stunning heaps in some killing cornfield outside of town, or dropped from the sky in twos and threes for miles down along the Illinois state line.

Anagrams is one of my favorite books; "Four Calling Birds, Three French Hens" is my favorite story from Birds of America.

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Blogger Mike on Sun Jul 12, 08:11:00 AM:
Lorrie has some other doozies in there. "...a short paper nerve baked in an ear," was one of my favorites.
Anonymous Sophia on Mon Jul 13, 02:54:00 PM:
This reminds me of the Sopranos.
Blogger Christine on Tue Jul 14, 01:19:00 PM:
Except I wish she hadn't used "modicum..."