Migration Is a Survival Instinct ~ fiction by Epiphany Ferrell

“It’s a gift,” my mother said, when I told her about how my feet were turning into crow’s feet. “And anyway, dear, not a crow. Blackbird feet.”

“What’s the difference?” I asked, but my mother was onto other topics. She gets that way. Her whole life is a vanilla dream state these days. The doctors told me not to take it personally.

So, blackbird feet. Three toes in front, one behind, with impressive toenails. There was an article in the newspaper today about how all the blackbirds in Acorn Lake have deformed feet. I wonder if my feet are deformed as well as being blackbird feet. I mean, are they normal blackbird feet? Other than being human-sized and at the end of a human ankle?

I wait until everyone else has left the office before I hobble to my car, it’s ocher paint making it look more like a sports car from a distance than a sedan. Things are always different close up.

I order a dozen at the Donut Spot drive-thru, then sit in the parking lot, tossing bits of cake donut and jelly donut and sprinkles donut out to the hobbling birds that surround my car.

I think maybe I’ll move away. Go south.

I visit my mother. I tell her my plan. That I’ll be back in the spring. “Blackbirds don’t migrate,” she says. “You have a lot to learn.”


Epiphany Ferrell lives on the edge of the Shawnee Forest in Southern Illinois. Her stories appear in more than fifty journals and anthologies, including Bending Genres, The Molotov Cocktail, Best Microfictions, Best Small Fictions, and other places. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee, and a past recipient of the Prime Number Magazine Flash Fiction Prize. She’s on Facebook and Twitter, and at epiphanyferrell.com.