we hear a hollow bang against the window behind our ears. the kind of sound made only by a human knocking or a disoriented bird that has flown into the glass. we know instantly that it must be the latter. we abandon our momentary duties and rush to the source of the noise. as we look down, the bird is laying on its side, a few vivid red drops of liquid visible centimeters away from its rapidly opening and closing beak. all we can do is watch and implore this small speckled brown creature to recover. please don't die. please. please get up. what can we do? is there nothing we can do? from around the corner, a black terrier emerges and lifts its leg at the nearby tree. the bird is gasping for breath and spasming on the ground in the dog's peripheral vision, causing the dog to briefly investigate, then ultimately lose interest and trot away. for a moment, in between gasps, the bird shifts its position and appears to be trying to rise from the ground and flutter its wings to attempt flight. we breathe a cautiously hopeful sigh, but the feeling doesn't last longer than a breath. please don't die. come on motherfucker. its breath becomes increasingly labored and slowly dissipates with each second. we wait and watch and there's nothing more we can do but to watch this animal grope with its reddened tongue and throat for the life that is so quickly escaping its small body from the blow that was enough to render it nearly motionless. the bird is almost completely still now as its lungs and heart fade in function and its eyes close. and it fights no more for air. and finally, the bird is still and lives no longer, passing into the void from which it will never return. our bird friend is dead. it's the strangest feeling to watch something die. almost like a rite of passage. i feel a connection to this animal, like i became its only family. like because we were there it wasn't alone. which, to me, is a simultaneously comforting and perfectly devastating thing.