At the Edge of a Stand of Trees by Moonlight | by Cate McGowan

Asterisks punctuate the sky; foliage silhouettes scribble
tentative greens. There is no breeze. Spring’s budded twice
since you left. Perennial wrens arrived this second season
to construct a surprise nest overnight in my mailbox from our
last hurricane’s pile of twigs. The chicks’ eggs snap, crack open.

Their first chirrups sound throaty, and when the mother arrows
her small self into the tree-line, I sneak up to the stoop, steal
a glance. The naked hatchlings shiver; their yellow beaks clap
open, demanding food in the porchlight haze. I only see
all the birds after my eyes dilate, adjust to the darkness.



Cate McGowan is the author of the story collection, True Places Never Are (Moon City Press, 2015), which won the Moon City Press Short Fiction Award and was a finalist for the Lascaux Review 2015 Short Fiction Collection Contest. A Georgia native whose flash is anthologized in outlets such as W. W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in many literary publications, including Glimmer Train, Crab Orchard Review, Shenandoah, Moon City Review, Into the Void, and Vestal Review. Cate’s been an editor for the Louisville Review and SFWP and is an arts writer for national periodicals. She’s currently pursuing a PhD in philosophy. 

Twitter: @cate_mcgowan

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