Convergence of Birds by Jonathan Safran Foer

By Jonathan Safran Foer

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Emory spoke for about an hour every day. The guards weren’t supposed to let this go on, an organized event like this, but they did. Emory would talk about different kinds of animals and how they were all related and what they did and where they came from—as Emory understood it. Emory got pretty sophisticated about this, and we had some laughs, too, even the guards. Sometimes Emory would imitate the way an animal behaved, and he’d have us pounding on the tables and crying with laughter watching while he waddled along like a porcupine or pounced on a mouse like a coyote.

I didn’t leave that day, though I was one of Emory’s men. Why I stayed behind is another story, but partly it is because I could not leave the refuge of my hatred, the anger I feel toward people who flick men like me away, a crumb off the table. Sometimes I am angry at people everywhere for their stupidity, for their buying into the American way, going after so many products, selfish goals, and made-up desires. Whatever it was, I stayed behind in my cell and watched the others go. The only obligation I really felt was to the Indian, Emory Bear Hands.

My wife was asleep. My daughter was asleep in her bedroom, with its view of the barn awash in moonlight. I was wearing boxer shorts and a black T-shirt. m. I had never kept a Journal of Insomnia. In this situation, my friend, DM, would have brewed tea. I felt like meeting DM in The Village Restaurant in Hardwick, but at this hour I couldn’t by all etiquette telephone, though DM would’ve embraced the reason. Crickets were thrumming in the mudroom. Its broken ceiling, mouse entries, torn screen door made it “open to the elements,” both an interior and exterior space.

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