i was lying in the back yard, on my back with my arms shielding my face from the sun. through the crook of my arms was visible blue sky, a bit of tree, and power lines running crosswise. as i watched, a mourning dove alighted on the wires, framed by my two arms, and i remembered, there was a dead mourning dove. i was five, maybe even four. it was a great tragedy. my mother was very upset. something had killed it, this beautiful being, and i remember the delicate patterns, the soft pink-cream of its ruffled feathers. it may have been the first dead thing, it may be my first memory of a dead thing. and it was a tragedy.