Clarence Day was no good at feeding the birds. The birds left Clarence and his bread alone. Still, everyday Clarence Day came to the park and sat on the same bench, rubbing his fingers over the grain. He would stay hours watching couples wearing long coats and children carrying ice skates over their shoulders go past.

Once, another old man sat across from Clarence and several small birds twittered and snapped at each other as the old man pulled out a tissue and exposed a human thumb. The sparrows continued to dance, weave around the pigeons, and fluff their feathers. The old man tossed the thumb to the birds. They squawked and stood on top of one another. A starling flew down from a tree branch and grabbed the thumb, and sat on the bench next to Clarence where it began to peck at the thumb in tiny jerking motions that removed the skin, revealing the dark red thumb meat.
"Every Clarence Day"
Copyright: © 2011 Susan Swanton


Susie Swanton's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the cream city review and The North Central Review. She performed in the entry of The Encyclopedia Show Chicago which featured slices of John Wayne Gacy's brain.

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