by Nathan Alford


A circle of pigeons around an egg.

Beneath, under film-membrane, something is stirring. Claws untwist, slick feathers shudder.

Twelve sets of small black eyes behold it, watching.

“Perhaps the time is now,” in whispered tones, around the shell.The air is so misty and grey that it weighs something: it bears down upon the council’s heads, and feathers, dripping off their beaks. The water makes them even more squat than the species naturally is.


“One cannot be certain.”


More cracks form across the pale surface of the egg. The pressure of birth, as it stirs within. The conception is the easiest part, delivery the hardest; in the in-between state of it balances, both living and dying in each moment.


“If it is as we hope it is—“


A lid fragment pushes up, making a delicate crunching sound. It struggles to enter the world, shaking limb by limb. Amniotic fluid and blood trickles out onto the pavement.


Spring is known as the time of birth, but of what, I know not.


Thumbnail image by Amelia Stanford.