A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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September 2008, vol 4 no 3

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Doris Heitmeyer

Bluebird of Happiness

"Bluebirds," my father said. I don't know how we got on the subject. "They nest around here in spring." I had not seen any. I usually visited him in late summer when I got my vacation.

"Oh, you still have bluebirds in Arkansas," I said. "Something happened to them in the East. We don't see many in New York."

"Oh, yeah," he said. "We've got them all over. They perch right on my fence here. You know, they're real choosy eaters. Real gourmets. They like to catch these big grasshoppers and fly them to the top of a fence post, use it for a butcher block, chop off the hind legs, throw the rest of the grasshopper away. Then they crack the thighs, the way you would a lobster claw, to get at the meat."

This was rather more than I wanted to know about bluebirds. I had a sudden vision of the grasshopper, alive but mutilated, crawling off in the dust on its weak forelegs.

A species directs its own evolution. Through millennia, the female bluebird has valued the aesthetic, selecting her mate for an agreeable temperament, exquisite colors, and sweet voice. We see the result today. Interesting but understandable, that such a species would appreciate beauty and fine dining regardless of the cost.

a hunting motif announces
the venison.

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