Copper Threads

Sydney Davis

There was a small bird that sat on a twiggy telephone wire every evening at 5:30 pm. The bird was never late, nor early.

He would sit on the wire and watch starlings strut on the ground below. The dogs being walked, barked at the black birds, sending the birds into the air. The fleeing birds would leave the ground in clouds of smokey black feathers. One bird took to the sky, and hundreds joined it in its take-off.

But every time the inky feathers spilled across the blue canvas, the tiny bird stayed on the telephone wire. Sometimes the frantic flying of the other birds would threaten to push the small bird off his perch, but he persisted and kept his frail feet wrapped around the copper thread.

One evening at 5:30, as usual, the bird found his spot on the wire and perched, holding his iridescent blue head high and his canary gold beak even higher. The flock of birds lay undisturbed at the feet of the telephone pole. The dogs’ muffled barking and yelping from inside the houses could be heard with polished clarity. Their people stared out the windows at the spacious sidewalks they had walked on days ago. A person would occasionally glance up at the tiny bird.

The bird, of course, thought the change in his daily routine was rather peculiar. Did everything happen sooner or later? Was his feathery head out of place? This unsettled the bird, but he let the muggy feeling slide away.

A few days later, the bird was starting to think there was a new rhythm for his evening. The people huddled in their homes with their whining dogs, and the snobbish mahogany birds lay like unscratched polish on the grass countertop. One day, one of the people in one of the houses decided to leave. They stepped out the door and eyed the neglected sidewalks warily. They would go for a few hours, come back, and isolate themselves again for a few days.

The bird was beginning to become bored. He had enjoyed the hustle and bustle he witnessed from the telephone pole and being shoved about by the murmuration below him.

But, the little bird did not lose faith. He held onto the hope that the 5:30 he had carried so dear would return. So for days and days, months and months, the little blue bird arrived at his telephone pole at exactly 5:30 and waited. Sometimes more people would be out, and sometimes he wouldn’t see anyone at all. A few times, the people came outside with their dogs, and the dogs would chase the starlings into the sky. With the starlings flying, the little bird would think.

He would think that this monotonous abstract routine that he thought he recognized, but then again, didn’t, would end. But then, that brief minute of relief, celebration, and excitement would only be matched with more months of silent streets and a carpet of undisturbed birds.

Then, one evening at 5:30, the bird sat on the telephone pole as always. The positive nature that flew through his small feathered head was beginning to dwindle. Maybe this was the new everyday rush he would have to enjoy, but then a door opened in the back of one of the houses. A dog came tumbling out, waving its head frantically in the air. More dogs followed. The resting flock of birds raised their unstretched heads and hopped to the air in panic. The fleeing wings slapped the little blue bird, but he held his ground on the telephone pole. Then people began to exit the houses. They began to talk, laugh, and smile. A noise echoed down the sidewalks that had been empty of feet and noise for so many evenings.

The bluebird didn’t sing or take flight like the others. He just sat and watched. What the little bird was waiting for had returned, with dust upon it, but it had returned all the same. This time, with a brilliant new brightness to it. And with that, the bird sat on the telephone pole and savored every sound.