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By Vincent Joseph Noto

“I killed the male,” she said,
in a rare shattering of cool,
breaking hysterical.
“Their kind mate for life,
and I killed the male.”
I could say nothing against
this knowing she, the
zoology major, would know.
She had held this inside
herself three hours since that
winding stretch of road.
Through Santa Margarita
where the road opened up,
a pair of doves
had darted playfully.
I picture and hear her
battered Volkswagen Beetle
chug curved slopes of road.
Picture and hear its one headlight,
like an eye in a dented fender
looking continually skyward,
blink when the thud comes.
Watch the road-scattered feathers
fling along as the body
tumbles, and the dancing mate
bleats in horror upon empty
wind. I tried to comfort her, take
her in my arms, stop her tears,
but . . . and I couldn’t help it: I
felt—as I think nearly every
man does sometime or another—
the boundlessness of a woman’s
love for every living
creature but him. I could read
the signs, and I knew she would
leave me long before I would
fall out of love for her. No,
even as I held her, I
couldn’t help it. A glimpse
of a thought. A notion
of a feeling. A part of me
floated along the road too,
skyward for a time
or earthbound forever,
more in sympathy with feathers,
living and dead, on the winds

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