Continuing Education by Mun Say

There’s a bird. There’s a bird in the middle of the road. There’s a bird in the middle of the road, flapping its featherless wings and reaching nowhere. There’s a bird in the middle of the road, flapping its featherless wings, reaching nowhere, silent in its journey. There’s a bird in the middle of the road, flapping its featherless wings, reaching nowhere, silent in its journey, shaking its dirt spotted head at the ghosts on its back. There’s a bird in the middle of the road, flapping its featherless wings, reaching nowhere, silent in its journey, shaking its dirt spotted head at the ghosts on its back, bathed in fear. There’s a bird in the middle of road, flapping its featherless wings, reaching nowhere, silent in its journey, shaking its dirt spotted head at the ghosts on its back, bathed in fear, wondering when home grew distant and time stood still and life fumed in tar and tarmac and the smell of food was the city’s stench and the city’s stench was in its clothes and on evenings like these when raindrops and sweat glistened alike and the beggar in rags with flies buzzing around his reclined form looked peaceful and the phone rang long but no one answered and the one who answered complained about his boss breathing down his neck till the connection was interrupted by an unpaid bill among numerous unpaid bills that could turn into an autobiography or line his gravestone and the weather as grey and uncertain as the path from the examination hall to the station pervaded with cracked and dislodged stones and dog/ cat/ human feces and plastic turned/ twisted/ torn and potholes and open gutters that swallowed my last dream and exhausting monologues by parents trying to understand Why, Why? Why! and this bird under the bridge, young and cold that I want to cup in my palms and hold close to my grieving heart and whisper prayers of safety and strength and turn towards a sun that does not set and nourish it and watch it grow, its grey and charcoal plume shimmering in delight and wonder. But someone with a freshly lit cigarette in one hand and a mobile in the other leaves a run-down café to kick the bird to the curb and looks confused as a cry claws out of my throat. If it’s meant to survive, it will—I mutter repeatedly to the back of his drenched shirt.

There’s a crow. There are two crows under the bridge. There are two crows under the bridge eyeing the bird. There are two crows under the bridge eyeing the bird that can’t stop flapping its featherless wings.


Mun Say lives and writes from India. She has flash fiction and poetry published in various online literary journals and magazines. You would think that multiple publication credits means writing has gotten easier for her. You would be wrong. It is f***ing not.