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Chimney Sweeps

It sits there, day after day waiting for the scraps it needs to survive. Tiny pieces of bread, torn and tossed from small fragile hands to the silky black bird. It hops swiftly toward each of them, trying to devour the morsels before the others take its sustenance. They are bigger. Stronger. More magnificently colored. It does not matter. Its blackish-gray feathers help hide the soot from nestling inside the chimney with its 3 small hatchlings. Purposeful, it will survive.

She sits there, in the house she has known for the past 43 years, day after day. A gallery of pictures line each and every available inch of space on the walls and shelves. Remnants from the past. Brothers and sisters, some who never made it to see the isolation of old age as she now does. Ghosts. She kisses them goodbye.

3 young boys peep back at her from one frame. Sons. One taken too early. To the right hangs her true love, her mate for life. Matrimony of 62 years deceased now, but she does not lose her faith. She clings to the hope that one day they will be reunited. All of them.

Chimney sweeps are her only company. She feeds them each morning with scraps of old bread. She stands there, blank, expressionless, lost on the land where she has spent the past 83 years of her life. She looks desperately for something she cannot grasp. A roaring in the distance means that it’s time to return back to her hollow nest.

Purposeless, she will not survive much longer. Her tiny permanent ringlets, now all gray, cannot hide the defeat in her eyes. Others may be younger, stronger, more beautiful, but it does not matter. She savors the manna given to her now. She sits there, day after day waiting for the scraps she needs to survive.

Travis Turner is a Blog Content Editor for The Spark. He has taught writing and literature for the past ten years at several institutions of higher learning, including University of Alabama, Judson College, University of West Alabama, and Shelton State Community College. The southern Alabama Black Belt native writes both fiction and non-fiction with his work having been featured in various publications, such as Folio, Blinders, The Gambler Mag, Zouch, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, The Manifest Station, Literary Juice, The Flexible Persona, The Succarnochee Review, Alabama Outdoor News, and The Sumter County Record-Journal. He loves spending time outdoors, black cats, billiards, and good bourbon.

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