by Melissa Mead
Do you believe in the Flock?
It's not hard. No harder than believing in Santa Claus, who manages to be in every mall, and every chimney of every home, while at the same time being so unique, so individual, that children know him on sight.
The Flock is like that. For most of the month, they roam the city in their tiny, soft gray forms, and people sneer, "Oh, pigeons!" The Flock takes no notice. They spread throughout the city, iridescent throats shining green and amethyst, like unrecognized gems, and they watch.
They bob along the sidewalk and watch the old man who makes his slow way to the coffee shop and makes his cup of plain black coffee last as long as it can, hoping that someone will start a conversation, or at least say hello.
They perch on the schoolyard fence and watch the little girl who sits at the picnic table while the others play ball, hoping that someone will look her way, and finally buries her nose in a book and mutters that ballgames are stupid, anyway.
They fly to the high window of an apartment where an old woman lies in the bed that she hasn't left for weeks, watching the Flock, and the open sky beyond.
For most of the month the Flock is many, winged and feathered, watching, seeing, and remembering.