My family visits me, waking me up: “What was the name of that bird you saw?” they ask. I tell them I don’t know and put my head back on the pillow. All the friends I have ever had, ever will have, past and future, come and shake the bed: “What was the name of that bird you saw?” they ask. I tell them I don’t know and put my head back down and close my eyes. A conga line of future wives, ex-step-brothers and sisters, possible children, great grand-parents, cousins I’ve never met, theoretical uncles, aunts with tattoos, a score of pets, cats and dogs of all kinds, and even a few snakes, all come and ask: “What was the name of that bird you saw?” The former-president Jimmy Carter comes up in the presidential motorcade. He asks me “What was the name of that bird you saw?” I tell him I can’t remember, and why does it matter anyways? He can have any bird he wants. Why would he want mine? He smiles and motions for the Secret Service to bring over the nuclear football. “We live as we dream- alone,” the ex-president says. Inside the briefcase is a bird purple and gold and green. I tell him I don’t know what bird it is and go back to sleep.
Shaun Holloway has an MFA from George Mason University where he taught Literature and Composition. His work has appeared in Canyon Voices Magazine and Eckerd Review.