As I drove into the country today, I spotted a turtledove perched on a fallen log, the dead half of one splintered magnolia tree. The bird was a soft grey that hinted at pink, its feathers lightly dappled brown. The little bird’s mate was, no doubt, close by, perhaps watching from behind the leathery magnolia leaves or hopping across the shaded ground below, gathering twigs for their nest.
I clutched the papers in my lap, one hand gripping the steering wheel while the other clasped the envelope that sanctioned our separation. Black signatures seemed to burn through the beige sheath, sizzling the un-tanned band of skin on the third finger of my left hand.
Turtledoves mate for life, said the voice of my mother. And humans no longer seem to, said the voice in my head.