July 13, 2015 | ,

The White Stork

"White Stork Preening"
“White Stork Preening” by Lilla Frerichs

A stork on your roof is a blessing from God. That’s what everyone says. We can see the edge of the nest above us from our bedroom window, a shadow of twigs watching over our sleep. Sometimes she calls to herself, and it sounds like she’s firing machine guns out over Warsaw.

Izabella has started calling her “our stork.” She wants to name her Saint Anne—they’ve been learning about the saints at Sunday school, and she knows that storks symbolize fertility. Józef’s mother didn’t waste any time imparting that little fact.

“Why don’t you like her, Mama?” Izabella says. We’re looking up at the birds from the street, and the stork is standing on top of her nest as though our house is a ship and she’s the lookout.

“She’s loud and irritating,” I say, running my hands through Izabella’s tangle of red hair. Always full of questions, that one. “What’s it like to have a baby?” she asked me once.

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. “It’s hard to describe. That’s why we have stories about storks.”

One day we’ll have to tell her why she’s the only one in the family with red hair. For now, I watch her skip into the house, making stork noises in the back of her throat.

J Adamthwaite is an English Language graduate and lives in East London, where she works as a teaching assistant. She has had short fiction published by Cinnamon Press, Prole, and Gatehouse Press, amongst others. She is currently working on a novel.

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