By Julia Mohn
The day after my ninth birthday, a bird smacked the back window of the car. I saw the fear in his black eyes before he fell backwards, wings no longer able to serve his flight. “Stupid birds,” my father chuckled to himself, and my mother gave him a disapproving look. “Don’t say that in front of the child.” I just stared at the chicory dotting the roadside with its blue petals swaying in the warm breeze.
My mother loved everything dots but the candy. She decorated her cerebellum in clouds, and the rest was spotted. She liked the artificially flavored dots of strawberry in her instant oatmeal, she dutifully swallowed two dots whole each morning with tap water, she lamented each dot on food-stained plates I dared to wipe clean. This appreciation was one of the few things my parents shared, as my father often attended to the dots on her chest.