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  • the dead birds looked as if they were asleep.

    i picked up the crow whose bent gape made it look like it was smiling in its slumber. probably dreaming of giant garbage-filled dumpsters.

    it was so light.

    then i picked up the great-blue heron and was surprised how heavy it was, especially the neck with the extra vertebrae.

    dennis started dissecting the crow and everyone closed in around him. being tall and afraid of vomiting from the stench, i hovered behind.

    the crow's skin was so thin, we could see the white of the sternal keel through it. "malnutrition," dennis observed.

    i was surprised by the immensity of the breast muscles - the pectorals that enabled the crow to fly.

    dennis plunged deeper into the carcass. "now we will examine the digestive system."

    the smell was immediate. i sidled over to curtis who always wore too much cologne, grateful for the olfactory umbrage.

    we continued to learn as dennis carved up the crow.

    our lesson ended with the reproductive organs. everyone then crowded over the heron but i lingered and held the crow's two tiny testes in my palm. they were no bigger than a pin head.

    i looked at the crow but couldn't find its smile.
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