Aiden the crow

Aiden the crow landed on the balcony railings, his beautiful, miraculous claws tiptapping as he sidled along, eyes bright. 

Claire knew that look. It was the look of a young man evening-eager for a night out or a quiet night in, anything she liked as long as they were together. She remembered that look so well, the look that had captured her heart forever. 

The crow’s feathers were mostly glossy black, tropical night black, reflecting back the setting sun like polished coal, the colour of a young man’s hair when they had first met, a fringe for a while and then a mohawk. Later of course grey appeared, in patches at first, and it seemed the crow was on the same path. The look and the colours. Claire was sure. 

Aiden the crow tapped again and cocked his head, asking for something – probably not the beer she had poured into the aluminium ashtray, still marked with too many late-night cigarettes, although historically it would have been. She sat on the balcony on the hard kitchen chair, face wet, hands gripping the railings. The crow tiptapped impatiently, expectantly.

Aiden flexed his wings and took off, soared and tilted, wingtip pointing almost straight down at the concrete five storeys below, and fixed her with his mirror-black eye. She understood and smiled and stepped onto the chair and held out her arms then for a moment, for the longest of moments, for the rest of eternity, she flew.

every day just before light

every day
just before light
Hope lands on my windowsill
her claws echoing on the lead

she – I think of the bird as she –
sidles up and down
staring at me or her reflection
with the light
I get out of bed
and move to the kitchen

she is usually there before me
her tapping accelerated
but somehow still controlled
like those times in a jazz club
when you air drum along
or shimmy to the bar while it’s quiet

she moves swiftly away
when I open the window
then dove steps back
and pecks explosively
at the seeds I have scattered there

I don’t see her for the rest of the day
only in the morning
when I wait for her
every day
just before light

two weeks ago last Friday
she arrived with a friend
or a partner or a mate
or an opportunistic passer-by
they seemed to share the food
quite fairly
and then they left together

the rest of the day
I sat in my chair
thinking of how our relationship
might develop
and underlining birdseed on my list

I did not see them again
until this morning
and then not her
but only her friend
who clattered on the sill
alone and ignoring
the seed piled up like sand dunes

I don’t know if she’ll stay
or if she’ll come back
every day
just before light

I think I’ll call her Hope