by Susan Taylor Chehak
It’s called a murmuration, when the starlings flock together and swoop like that, as one, a great cloud of them, moving in synchrony. How do they know? Who keeps the choreography?
Elf is considering the squalor of the kitchen at the north end of his (ex-)girlfriend’s trailer. Ariel. Or: that tramp, as his mother calls her, which never fails to make Elf wince and flinch, even though he knows that’s just the purpose and the point. His older brother only smiles; his younger brother elbows him and laughs. Elf is a small man, in full sync with his name: Elf, short for Elfred, and he doesn’t know why they can’t just call him Fred. He’s not quite the runt of the litter, but that same laughing younger one of his two brothers—the latecomer, as he’s sometimes fondly called, though not by Elf—isn’t yet full-grown, and because his father doesn’t happen to be the same as Elf’s, it very likely won’t be long before he’s outpaced his older brothers both. Continue reading