The Crow—Honor Vincent

With a click and a slick rustle 
the crow brings a question, and drops it at her feet.

It looks like plastic, but it’s too heavy— 
so many ragged edges.

Who would put such a ring on a fake finger?

The crow is her child’s friend, 
they bring each other gifts each day.

Never untoward, never too dear.

The child and bird chatter while they trade,
and each piece is labeled for the specimen box:

rhinestones near river rocks, 
thread near flowers, pens with whittled plastic,
broken jewelry with coins and fruit pits.

Her daughter does not know this, 
but the crow is not quite a friend to her mother.

The things it leaves the woman are never gifts, 
and her own box is full of the bird’s wants:

scratch-off tickets, fish-thin bones, dollar bills, 
shells, scraps of tape, flyers for missing pets,
netting, bb gun pellets, nose ring—

And those are just the things that wouldn’t rot.

She pockets the morning’s finger
purpling, cool, much larger than hers.

Who is it the crow wants to be rid of this time?

Honor Vincent’s poetry and stories are published in Yes Poetry, Strange Horizons, Entropy, Neologism, and elsewhere. She also writes comics, including an ongoing series about Boudicca and her daughters, and a forthcoming series about a rat-plagued near-future New York City.

photo by Dimitar Donovski (via unsplash)