Befriending the crows
for Theresa May

She wanted to understand something of herself but she didn’t
have the answers, so she tried to befriend the crows. She liked
the way their feathers absorb the sun, the way they radiate energy.
She was friendless and needed company, even the corvid kind.
She’d read a long time ago that they could be coaxed with gifts.

She started with the mouse she found dead at the foot of the stairs,
then tried fat balls made from vegetable suet and the seeds of flowers
she’d meant to plant in the spring. When fortune cookies with secret
messages she was sure they were smart enough to decipher failed,
she tried to coax them with a replica measure from the Jewel Tower

and an iron roof plate that fell into the Thames from the Elizabeth Tower.
She tried a confusion of biddable politicians, miniaturised to pocket size,
and a brushful of her hair woven into love tokens. She would have offered up
the secret to life, the universe and everything, if she’d known it,
but suspected the crows already did and were keeping it to themselves.

She hoped the crows would be curious but worried that they would
worry about the sanity of her mind instead. Then when they came, or even
if they didn’t, she’d tell them the things that were troubling her,
that this journey isn’t worth the shoe leather, and where she’s heading
feels like hell.

first published in Handling Stolen Goods (Peepal Tree Press) 2019

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