Michael Lottner is a Montreal native in his second year at Concordia University, completing an honours degree in creative writing. This column was put together with the help of Annah-Lauren Bloom.
in the park, missing you quite a bit. A woman comes up
to me and asks for directions to the nearest
water fountain. “Twenty paces north-east,” I say.
“I can’t thank you enough,” she says. “Would you
do me the honor of looking at my photographs?”
After flipping through pictures of her grandkids
and china sets, a shot of a tiny bird catches my eye.
“If you give me the rest of that delicious-looking doughnut,”
she says, “I’ll tell you the bird’s name.”
This is my third doughnut of the morning, so I accept
her offer. “Thank you,” she says. “This is my Bethina.
She’s a real Curious Finch.” Discovering a new specimen
is exactly what I need right now. I picture
the inquisitive little birds perched on people’s shoulders,
chirping their life’s stories and planting seeds of curiosity.
I spend the rest of the day eavesdropping on
conversations. When someone asks someone else,
“Do you think Doug will be alright?” I see wings
flutter out the corner of my eye. But that’s the closest
I come to spotting a Curious Finch. Disappointed,
I wonder if maybe Curious Finches
have no interest in getting to know us, and only use us
for our big brains. I can hear your voice in my head
saying you bet they don’t even know a Doug.
What if I were to tell you Doug is their benevolent leader
and lover, and he’s recently gone missing? Do you know
where Doug is? No one expects life to be a single
vast expedition, true. But—er, if you see Doug,
tell him I miss him. That’s all. I’m heading to sleep now.
A purple bed awaits your return, Doug. Yes, I’ve known
you were Doug all along. I just needed a little something
to throw myself for a loop. The doughnuts were
a good deal, but didn’t keep me company for long,
and once I got going, I couldn’t stop. “What
happens if I start missing Doug too much?” I asked
myself. “You’ll see. It’s all up the world’s sleeve,”
I responded. “Everything gets sorted out up there.”
The moon glimmers off my Krispy Kreme coupons,
expressing some strange chirps.
I turn to your side of the bed. Then I turn again,
and again. Yet no matter how many sides I turn toward,
yours is somehow always the other side.