A bird makes a noise. This is fact. Whether the perception is song or croak or caw is interpretation. The opening of the beak and translation of vibrating vocal chords does not precipitate meaning, but rather opens the door to dialogue. What bird is it? What sound does it make? These are all subjective. Humans are naming creatures, putting labels on things that do not name themselves. Does a robin look up and say, “This is spring, let me go bobbing along so a child can claim to have seen the first me of all the mess of the season?” A robin uses its eyes, flies off into the unnamed air and opens its beak to make a noise. Another bird will hear the noise and call back. Their conversation fulfilled, they will continue throughout the rising sun and eat an unnamed worm and make an unnamed nest and feed their unnamed babies from their unnamed gullet. But we, we are forever boxing things together and creating labels. We misshape the world around us into compartments. Eventually, the bird will turn to us and tell us to shut up.
Alison McBain is an award-winning author with over sixty short stories/poems published, including work in Litro, FLAPPERHOUSE, Poetry Quarterly, and The Airgonaut. When not writing, she’s the Book Reviews Editor for the magazine Bewildering Stories. In her spare time, she blogs about local author events and interviews writers at alisonmcbain.com.