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Pájaro en Mano

On my old street in San Francisco’s Mission District, a homeless man named Swan would bring in wounded pigeons to my coffee shop, Macondo, tenderly holding them in his hands, to clean their wounds in the bathroom, and feed them back to health. When I first lived there, Swan slept in his engineless Volkswagen Beetle, and I would help him move it onto the sidewalk on street cleaning days, till the City finally towed it away one last time. I still see him, sitting on that same corner, 20 years later, throwing bread crumbs for the pigeons. This is one of his birds, with a broken wing.