He said that the wood came from a cuckoo clock. She nodded. What she knew about cuckoos: her elementary teacher had explained that the birds counted life with their calls. She sat at recess instead of playing games. The playground was next to a forest. The bird was arboreal, her teacher had said. They rarely occurred in pairs. They laid eggs in other nests. She asked the bird to predict her age at her death. She went back to the bird plenty because she wanted to live longer. The clocks made sense with the birds. They counted lives in living rooms, hour to hour, day to day. She thought the bird was propelled by springs, but he said weights. Oh, she said. They all come from one place. The weights? The clocks. In Germany. He wrapped the knife in an old t-shirt. She asked, and what about the blade?


Anna Prushinskaya's writing has appeared in Redivider and Sonora Review, and on Two Serious Ladies and The Millions, among other places. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and she is also the Midwest editor of Joyland Magazine. Find out even more about her here: