Travis Turner

Chimney Sweeps

It sits there, day after day waiting for the scraps it needs to survive. Tiny pieces of bread, torn and tossed from small fragile hands to the silky black bird. It hops swiftly toward each of them, trying to devour the morsels before the others take its sustenance. They are bigger. Stronger. More magnificently colored. It does not matter. Its blackish-gray feathers help hide the soot from nestling inside the chimney with its 3 small hatchlings. Purposeful, it will survive.

She sits there, in the house she has known for the past 43 years, day after day. A gallery of pictures line each and every available inch of space on the walls and shelves. Remnants from the past. Ghosts essentially. Brothers and sisters, some who never made it to see the isolation of old age as she now does.

3 young boys peep back at her from one frame. Sons. One taken too early. To the right hangs her true love, her mate for life. Matrimony of 62 years deceased now, but she does not lose her faith. She clings to the hope that one day they will be reunited. All of them.

Chimney sweeps are her only company. She feeds them each morning with scraps of old bread. She stands there, blank, expressionless, lost on the land she has spent the past 83 years of her life. She looks desperately for something she cannot grasp. A roaring in the distance means that it�s time to return back to her hollow nest.

Purposeless, she will not survive much longer. Her tiny permanent ringlets, now all gray, cannot hide the defeat in her eyes. Others may be younger, stronger, more beautiful, but it does not matter. She savors the manna given to her now. She sits there, day after day waiting for the scraps she needs to survive.

Travis Turner

TRAVIS TURNER is a native of Brightwater, Alabama. He currently teaches writing & literature at the University of Alabama. His work has been featured in literary publications such as The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Poiesis Review, The Sucarnochee Review, and Tea Leaves LA. When not storytelling, he enjoys hunting, fishing, canoeing, cinematography & good bourbon.

Copyright 2016 Blinders Literary Journal | Contact: