“Harvesting Crows” by Doris Lynch

Willow Springs Cover 74 shows blue and brown paint smeared artistically across a rough surface.

Found in Willow Springs 74

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Only women can
snag them and only females
wearing red. Erroneously,
many believe that you must
prove yourself first by flying
off firehouse roofs. Also,
clearly untrue--the need to wait
'til rain mud-pocks the fields.

Our men don't really eat them,
merely pretend to broil and barbecue
them on fancy rotisseries
and stone-arched fireplaces.
If you glance sideways
you will notice your husbands and fiances
analyzing the crows' purple
wings, or painting fake mustaches
with oil from their dead black chests.

No truth exists to the rumor that politicians
ingest them in order to duplicate
the obnoxious rumble in their throats.
To capture Corvus, dusk is best.
That's when oaks and sycamores levitate
and teenage girls--surely virgins--leap onto
the lower branches and climb skyward,
nabbing several in their roosts
before the rest fly away.

Oddly, the more that you capture
and kill them, the bigger the flock will be
bombasting your window each morning.
To whiten the black of your sins, you must
sing them to silence. Later after you've lulled them
to sleep, you can cradle them; feel their wild beating
hearts in the palm of your remaining hand.

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