Cardinals mate for life. Most of them. Monogamous. Did you know that?

Watch them. You’ll see it. See a male? Look for a female. She’ll be blending in. Camouflage. She’s hiding. Wearing pain colors, a duller red, a light brown that does not stand out from the trees. A real plain Jane. But she’s beautiful to him. 

I work at a fine dinging restaurant. I see a lot of people on dates. Day in date out. It’s been a while now. I’m starting to forget what it’s like.

 See bright red feathers? A male? Follow him. He’s brining back food to her, or brining nesting supplies. He’s taking care of her. Giving her what she needs so she doesn’t have to leave the security of their nest. Her eggs. Their family. He’s protecting her. Protecting their family.

 In the traditional human house hold the male goes out to work and earns money for food and necessities while the woman stays home to take care of all things domestic.

 I never wanted that anyway.

 Chivalry isn’t dead in the animal kingdom. At least not for birds. Bottom of the food chain, prey animal, birds. Basic simple creatures with tiny little brains but big loving hearts. Show more compassion than most humans.

Divorce rate is at an all time high. My parents divorced before I could form any memories of them together. I was two.

 I haven’t had a relationship last longer than several months since my twenties.

 There’s a cardinal I’ve been seeing in my yard lately. A female. Alone.

 At first she came out shyly, waiting until there were no other birds around. No humans in sight. I only glimpsed her from the window. She jumped to see my movement. She flew off.

 I’ve deleted my Tinder App. I deleted Bumble, all of them. After the last guy stood me up I’ve decided to stop looking for something I’ll never find. 

I filled the bird feeder. I forgot about it. Seeds fell to the ground disregarded. Spring came and went. Flowers bloom, go to seed, feed the birds, live and die. Summer burnt hot we sit around the fire. We watch it dancing until the sun starts to set lower sooner and sooner. Already September it’s faded down to these last few standing embers.

 Today I saw her again. A startling flash in the tired morning light. Still alone. But bolder now. Maybe not confident but at least not afraid.

 She doesn’t mind me. But I stand still anyway. I’m frozen in awe for the moment, the way the light catches on those pale tan feathers, she looks golden.


Kate E Lore


I am a queer, neurodivergent, femme she/her, born into a lower-class/low-income family, via a divorced, widowed, single mother of four. Under the pen name Kate E Lore, I have had a handful of short stories, and nonfiction essays published in various literary magazines including Orsum and Longridge Review. I won an honorable mention with Switchgrass Review and first place in an undergrad college competition that granted me attendance at the prestigious Antioch Writers Workshop. I have been honored to be a part of the Professor and Protégé reading at The Ohio State University, alongside Lee Martin. I was honored again a year later, with an opportunity to read some of my creative nonfiction work at Texas A&M University for their Bodies symposium. I have lived in Ohio my entire life. I earned my Bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University. I am currently a graduate student working toward an MFA in creative writing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. In addition to all that, I am presently the art editor for Oxmag of Miami.  

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