All day the wild turkeys scavenge in snow,
the bulk of their bodies on twig-shaped legs. Bobbing.
They’re not so heavy as they look. I think of them like the plastic
pteranodon my son swings around the house, a fish in its beak.
These birds in my cul de sac are light: they fly, land four at a time
in the crab apple of Akbar’s yard. Twenty emerge from under
the pines, their eyes too small for me to see. I wish I could spend
hours just watching them, their awkward wobbling
and surprising grace in the juniper bushes, how they bend
a branch very little. Ten pounds, maybe? I try not to frighten
when I drive away to pick up my son from preschool.
He doesn’t want to come home, says I’m having a meeting
with Hugo. We drive back, slowly, past the turkeys still in the street,
me wanting to be one. I admit to romanticizing the lives of dumb
beasts who die more easily than I do. I admit to wanting
just to move my body when the turkey voice in my brain
says eat, says hurry, says fly into a tree. I admit it’s a stupid
desire, like most of my desires. I crock pot the dinner, finish
my emails, fail to work out. When finally the group recedes
into the trees, my children both home now from school,
we can find only the tracks, Ws with tails, like ski pole
marks on the deck. They were here, I tell my daughter, all day.
And my son runs around and around shrieking as if to imitate
their calls, swooping with his small replica of history, catching
his prey, and then they’re back, twenty at least, and I shout Look!,
and my wide-eyed girl runs to the window but the boy says
I saw them already, I’m tired of them, Mom. Can I have a sandwich?
Maya Jewell Zeller is the author of RUST FISH and YESTERDAY, THE BEES. Maya teaches creative writing for Central Washington University, edits fiction for Crab Creek Review, edits poetry for Scablands Books, and, with her spouse, raises two children. She lives in the Inland Northwest.