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MAX BIRD—My Life
Translated by Janice Kimball
Today, I am the public relations director of Aztec Art Studios in Ajijic Mexico. I strive to be a good bird as my position makes that imperative, and have only bitten a few people.
I originally came from an area in Mexico where wildlife is protected, I understand, somewhere west of Veracruz. I was snatched from my mother’s nest by predators of the human kind before I even had my eyes open, and indeed, as I recall the prickling, before my feathers began to cover my exposed bony body. I shiver every time I think about it. I thought I would die without my mother’s constant feeding of me, or maybe die from the desolate cold. Maybe, a better description of that time would be to say I thought I was already dead.
We were placed in a basket lined and covered with banana leaves, my brother, sister, and I, after we had been plucked from our nest as if we were peaches. I was afraid we would reach the same demise, but we were granted a reprieve.
We wound up with what must have been a dozen wide eyed, hopeful children who had been given the responsibility of nurturing us. They enthusiastically scurried around like anxious mothers over our basket, constantly attending us, fighting over the one eye dropper, from which we were fed. The food, which was dropped into our wailing mouths, was not that bad, seeds with mashed bananas, and maybe some ground corn.
Eventually our feathers started to blossom, in what I am now told is a delectable iridescent green. The children jumped around our basket in wonder at our life so frail, as they fussed over us, wallowing in their success. We began to look at them as giant birds, sans feathers. Like young innocents everywhere, we had no thought of our future, and the children had no thought of theirs either. Our ignorance was a blessing, as we had no control over what was facing us.
One flat day, a fat man in a car with a growling motor noisily lurched across the field towards the hut of the man who had poached us. We blinked with our infant eyes, barely half open. He looked us over, his eyes penetrating us with his greed. He talked money with our poacher who was barefoot and sad, while his hungry children, who had nurtured us, clustered, turning away, and heads bowed down in denial of this cruel stroke of fate.
Purchased as if we were produce, he placed us in his back car seat filled with other baskets of half developed birds of various sorts and colors. We were driven off with the children running along beside the car in anguish, as if we were ripped from their breast.
The bright spot in all this was that the only nurturers we had known in our young bird life would not go to bed hungry that night. The money the children’s father received for us would put food in their stomachs.
(To be continued)