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by Tim Love

He jiggles the old wheelbarrow free from the bush where it’s rusted all winter. Pushing it back along the garden path he can’t stop it squeaking. First it’s a little bird beeping a warning, then as he slows, it becomes a crow. Maybe he could make it do a starling.

From their bedroom window his wife puzzles over his dance with the barrow as he rocks it to and fro. And why does he keep looking up at the trees? He disappears to the shed, returning with an oil can.

He’s forgotten how they got the barrow — have they always had it? What will go wrong next? He considers putting a wooden panel inside to cover the jagged holes. Fixing the noise is easier. You don’t often come across a wheelbarrow that does bird imitations though. If only he could share all this with her. Surely she remembers what birds sound like. If nothing else he could try to make her feel the metal vibrating.

Still combing her hair, she watches him pace around like a mime artist acting indecision — he’s become more expressive since she lost her hearing. He’s putting the oil can away unused. Perhaps the barrow’s beyond repair. Even empty, she’s always found it a struggle. New ones are plastic, more practical. What’s he doing now? Surely he’s not crying. It’s only a barrow for God’s sake. Why does he keep so much to himself nowadays? At least they can go to the dump together.

Tim Love’s publications are a poetry pamphlet, Moving Parts (HappenStance), and a story collection, By All Means (Nine Arches Press). He lives in Cambridge, UK. His prose has appeared in Cortland Review, Connotation Press, Dogzplot, Forge, Stand, Unthology, etc. He blogs at litrefs.blogspot.com/