The yellow police caution line at 8:04am is wrapped around No Parking signs, around a ripe trash can, and it cordons off a wooden bench, all weathered, marker-streaked. On it, something rendered shapeless lies still beneath a pale white sheet.

One polished cop, in pristine blues, in hushed but flattened tones, says something to his partner’s back and then stares down at his phone.

This shape was once a human being, that form under the sheet. Now he’s an abstraction. A concept. An impression.

Two blocks away on JFK, a brown bird lying shattered beneath the window that he struck, neck bent and feathers scattered.

With my wingtip, I slide the bird into the mulch beneath a chestnut tree; feathers come loose. I wonder what it means.

A car drives by; a hand stretched out its passenger window holds a half-gone cigarette. It passes trailing a stream of silver smoke and I catch the rising swell of a saxophone, some sleazy jazz riding the Doppler Effect.

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