Caren Beilin

The Argyle Eagle

There is an argyle eagle in the shed, but now it’s hopped out of it and sits on the small roof. It is the kind of shed that appears like a small house, a young house if houses grew. Gray and blue diamonds fall into neat interlocking rows on the argyle eagle’s wings and there is an isolated diamond on its head, but it is not footwear. Not even close!

We go up to it because a) we’re bored and b) it’s rare and fantastic, the kind of thing you’d want to touch if only on the top of its clutching claw, if you stand on your toes next to our shed.

“Hi there,” we say, sounding neighborly. It creeps its eyes into the sun. Its irises are not in the shape of diamonds. This, if anything, is where the pattern breaks, two glowering circles.

Eagles have been known to fell great-sized trees, redwoods, so there is a part of us that wants to shoo it off the shed, as much as we really want to make it stay. There is a trapping part of us, a packing part, a part of us that yearns to put it in a box.

“You there,” we say, which is not very neighborly sounding, much more accusatory, like policemen finding lingering or black kids.

We don’t know where it came from, or how it’ll go back. It doesn’t look at us at all. It doesn’t do anything. It is statuesque except that its wings go calmly up and down, as though this needs to happen. The wing-underneaths have no diamonds. They are shockingly red. We jump back.

“I’ve never jumped back because of a color before,” I tell you. And you look at me very warmly, with that look that says we’ve built this life together but here you are, surprising me with a new aspect, an intellectualism. And I want to fuck you, after a month of not wanting to fuck you. I want to fuck you in the shed with the argyle eagle on top of it.

I think that’s why couples like us, out here, here-ing it, get small-house sheds. We want a little fuck room. We want to go into our small house and do everything very differently, the shrunken, emboldened versions of our large selves.

We go inside of it, through the door that looks like a house door, and this makes the argyle eagle look briefly down at us. I just wish it would go away now, go back to Rara Avis Island, or whatever. I wish it would lift off and never come back. The whole time we’re in the shed, that I’m fucking you differently than I do in the big house—I put my scrotum on your open eye and command you to blink rapidly, something I’ve always wanted to ask, “Look at me five hundred times, you cunt,”—I can’t help but be concerned we’re going to collapse.

Caren Beilin's fiction has appeared or will in McSweeney's, The Lifted Brow, Torpedo, LIT, and in the illustrated book We Are The Friction. She lives in Montana.

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