He’d want no broken branch, no fallen leaf, no clipped grass in the ultimate hour, though the temptation to provide these familiar comforts was truly difficult to overcome. I wanted to lift him from that hot street to the treeshade of a nearby lawn. I resisted; he seemed resolute. It was his final act of will.
Nature spares no creature her cruelty. The calm afternoon was her device, and her last insult. Evening would not arrive, however pleasant its scent, however sublime its light — he would have no cause to chirp.
When the clumsy leaps finally disloged his broken, beautifully phosphorescent leg, he posited his failed body in the asphalt’s composite tread and stared forward.
Three times I passed him in an hour. At the fourth, he and his leg were gone.