“Birds of Paradise” is part of a novel-in-progress
set during the 2020 George Floyd protests in L.A.
Read it at Virginia Quarterly Review.
There is no work for Logan, not today, not in this L.A. neighborhood where he’s been wandering for hours. Since the riots began he’s steered clear of the Boulevard, wary of the Guardsmen stationed outside CVS, of the rivers of broken glass and blocks of boarded-up storefronts splashed with angry graffiti. Only two streets away, though, all is as usual. Leafy and quiet. The hedges here are known to him, with their impeccable verticals and horizontals like tabletops, occasional branches sticking out and waving like arms. Some nice dogs live in the yards behind the green walls, snouts pushed through the gaps, smelling Logan’s stink and liking it, he believes; others are red-throated, with furious teeth. Their barking mosaics track him along the sidewalk.