Bob Dornberg © 2007 All Rights Reserved
At the Jade Emperor Pagoda, ornate and mysterious, incense coils hang like skeletons of beehives, long drained of sweetness, trailing smoke pungent with the scent of loss. An elderly man sits at the gate with a cage full of flapping wings. Kim says it is tradition to release the birds for good luck. Nine years old and still believing such things, Dennis begs for some change to make an offering, and Jeff obliges. The keeper opens the latch, but one stubborn bird will not budge. Dennis frowns, ignorant of omens or portents, yet convinced that something has gone wrong. The old man speaks to him soothingly in a language we don’t understand and pokes the bird with his bony finger, urging it into the dull afternoon sky. Kim translates—sometimes, he said, luck needs a little help.
Donna Vorreyer lives in the Chicago suburbs, and her writing has appeared in several journals including New York Quarterly, Flashquake, After Hours: A Chicago Journal of Writing and Art, Boston Literary Magazine, Bathtub Gin, and Literary Mama.
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