Jeff Friedman

The Dead Rooster

The dead rooster is dancing again, cutting X’s into the dirt with his claws.
“Stop,” I say, “it’s time to lie down.” “No,” the rooster says, “I want a lively
 death.” “But you’re already dead,” my daughter answers. I toss pellets of
grain in his direction. He begins to pluck the pellets from the dirt while he’s
dancing, but soon stops to eat. “This is a step in the right direction,” I say.
The rooster finishes his meal and lets out a series of high-pitched calls,
even though it is midday. My daughter edges toward him. As she kneels,
tears brighten her cheeks. The rooster’s eyes close. I pick up the shovel to
bury the rooster, but now my daughter holds him in her arms.