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Corvus

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