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Circling

E.P. La Brecque

Two crows are dive-bombing a squirrel that has decided to cross this long street in a tired part of town. The squirrel feints frantically this way and that, not entirely successful at evading its tormentors’ claws, curved like steel knives. As we approach the scene, I’m concerned we’ll run over the unlucky little beast. The crows desist, taking to the jagged fractals that winter has made of the century-old sycamores’ canopy above us. But, no, the squirrel stays put, faze-frozen as we pass above it. My daughter turns to look out the back window. I watch in the rear-view. The crows resume. Circle the block, my daughter says. On our second pass, we see things have turned dire for the squirrel. Hobbled, it can no longer dodge the crows who take turns having a run at it. It struggles to keep on its feet. Circle the block, my daughter says again. On our third pass, the squirrel is supine, quivering with the onset of death. One of the crows stands over it, yanking taut a length of gut. My daughter, who is nine, leans forward, riveted to the tableau. A first encounter with the stunning indifference of nature can do that, I think. Yet I see her mind is elsewhere. I know that crow, she says.


E.P. La Brecque is a writer and essayist who divides his time between Northern California and Detroit. By day he works as a brand strategist and namer. His work has appeared in

On The Run and The Fabulistas well as in Switch. At the moment he is writing this, he is in Danville, Virginia to work on projects for the city's public schools, historical society and comprehensive plan.

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