The Story

Jennifer Skogen

My mother loved my father.

But, after several beers at a Christmas party, he climbed a friend's radio tower

while my mother held my sister, who was just a few months old then,

and cursed up at him. 

Silently.  The words clouding the air as she breathed out through her teeth. 


This was the story she told me

so many years later, after the car accident.

When we all went to see him at the funeral parlor, my mother didn't speak

but kept running her fingers through his hair.

She was so mad at him. 


When she started dating again

her boyfriend spoke to me about my father.  They had been friends

for twenty years.  He wanted to tell me a funny story about the two of them,

so he told me about the night he threw a Christmas party.


While driving back from the store he hit an owl, but didn't discover the body

until his wife (ex-wife now) pointed to the grill. 

The owl didn't look too bad—wasn't broken, visibly.  The body was a brilliant white,

and when he spread the wings out in the snow, they made the owl

look huge, like spreading a cloth over an old chair.

When the owl's body stiffened, the wings stayed that way. 


And when he and my father climbed the radio tower to throw the owl from the top

at that moment they saw it so clearly:

they would make it fly.




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