There is a robin who built her nest atop the light at our front door. Her chicks broke free of their eggs a couple of weeks ago. One day I came home and found one of them dead on the porch. It has been there for over a week now. I watched in fascination as the days went by. Its belly started to distend. Its eyes aren’t there anymore. Now it lies covered in flies which feast upon its decaying remains. The corpse’s siblings are growing into nice little birds. Their mom flies away each time I go in or come out the door. They lie there scared, but I say, “Hello birds.” Then I look down at their fallen sibling.

I have left it there. My life is so insulated, so sanitized, so stable. Death is nowhere around me. At most I see the slow death of struggling persons when I decide to go downtown. My belly distends, too, but from comfort. This chick reminds me of life’s fragility, that my bubble could burst at any moment, that death, whether slow or immediate, is inevitable. In an instant I could be paralyzed or die, leaving my family with nothing but questions.

Will I arise as a phoenix from the dirt? Or will my life continue in comfort, still decaying, along with a world that continues to rot around me?

Let's tango

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