Heirloom ~ Chad Hanson

His Persian family keeps artifacts. His favorite rests on a bookshelf in the living room. A clear vase. After the death of his aunt, he notices that it’s holding water. He asks, “Who filled the vase?” His uncle says, “That’s not a vase, nephew. That is a tear catcher.” Midnight passes. He cannot sleep. An old necessity—a rite—begins to percolate. He carries the catcher onto the lawn. He pours it in a bird bath. One by one, barred owls come to light on the pedestal. The birds drink from the pool. They wade in the salt water. Wet their wings. Then they fly together in a circle over the house.