She was big, even for a crow: wide as

a window and two storeys tall, the hook


of her beak knock knock knocking on

the glass. Refusing to be shooed, the


bird visited daily, wings spread wide in

an embrace all feather, flashes of electric


in her umbrella-black. We came to know

her rough caw, heard it as she pitched up


on the roof in a storm of flapping, claws

puncturing slates and membranes of attic.


Night-long, she made a roost for herself,

resting at last in a nest crafted of ruined


rafters and broken bricks, incubating

us in the rooms beneath her warm belly.


She was an attentive parent, brought food

on the hour, plying us with worms, grubs,


beetles, all garnished with ladybirds and

the elegance of butterflies. We overcame


our pickiness, learned not to see the painted

bodies and sad string legs of our dinners.


She brooded over us constantly, removing

our detritus with her careful mandible.


Days passed. Weeks. We grew restless,

cage-bound, curtain-twitching and itching


to fledge, knowing we were loved but

suffocating slowly beneath the smother.



Published in Liminal Time, Liminal Place anthology, Between the Lines Press, USA, 2016


© Sarah Doyle