Wicken Fen


A bird with no parental instincts descends on Wicken Fen. One might stand a lifetime on this particular bank and watch the hens with their clutches only to wonder which ones are made for rejection, which ones will rise up to defend their territory, which ones will softly call puck puck to their mate. But none of them ever come to exist once the parasite enters the nest. Her hatchling pushes the others over the brink. Then the hatchling flies away to sing in the far north. All it wants to do is sing. Sing, sing, its bronze plumage bared for the first audience that will listen. Be it trees. Be it reed beds. Be it wind through the moorlands which it has been mimicking. It is a mutable thing, a creature of vague method and apprehension, reproducing its voice within its soulless lineage which appears unprincipled at the edge of what is still confusion, still a denial of heaven. It espouses the doctrine of the libertine and the charlatan. It makes one who is vigilant, observant, and compassionate to others — learn to accept unlike eggs.


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tim kahl


is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters' Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S.