alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-05-24 02:00 pm

Three Crows (written for [livejournal.com profile] writerverse #40 amnesty on #15)

Every morning a crow comes and sits at my window. One for sorrow.

It's been more than a year. When formal mourning was the custom, a year to weep, refrain from company, and dress in black was felt sufficient time to grieve. Meg wouldn't want this for me. Get out there, Jo, she'd say. Take a stack of poems to an open mic night—at least half being happy ones I wrote when she was alive, she would of course mean. Go dancing.

Today the crow has a friend. Two for joy. A third flutters down even as I think that. I wait for a fourth, but none comes. Three, then, three for a girl, or a wedding, depending.

In the bread aisle of the grocery store, there's a little girl trailing her mother, book of brightly illustrated poems in hand. "'The beginning of eternity,'" she reads, "'the end of time and space, the beginning of every end, and the end of every place.' What is it, Mama?"

"Not now, sweetheart," says the mother, exasperated. "I promise we'll read together as soon as we're home and the groceries are away, all right?"

"Awwww," says the girl.

"Anna, not now," says the mother.

"That's a hard riddle, Anna," I say, hoping the mother doesn't mind. "Do you want some help with it, or do you want to figure it out all yourself?"

The mother smiles at me, then turns to frowning at the price of bread.

"You know it?" Anna asks. "Can you give me a hint?"

"Look at the words," I say. "Not what the words mean."

Anna peers at the book.

"Thank you," the mother says in an undertone. "She's been pestering me all day. I'd love to sit down and let her read poems to me, but the work has to get done..."

"Of course," I say.

Anna squeals. "E! The letter E!"

I clap, and Anna's mother joins in.

"Thank you," Anna says, then stops. "What's your name?"

"I'm Jo," I say, and I hold out a hand for Anna to shake. "It's a pleasure to meet you, young lady."

"Can you read poems with me?" Anna asks.

"If your mother says I may," I say. "Not right now, I'm afraid—I have to do my shopping too, you see."

Anna looks up at her mother, pleading.

"My name's Melissa," says Anna's mother to me. "If you could come over for an hour today and entertain her while I work, that would be a lifesaver—only if you want to, of course, and I'd be right there if anything happened—"

Three crows this morning. "She's a sweet kid," I say. "If you're sure you're willing to trust your kid to a complete stranger."

Melissa shrugs. "I'm going with my gut."

As we exchange phone numbers, I think I can feel Meg smiling.


Creative Commons License
Three Crows by Elizabeth Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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