Mother's Crows by Stacy Pendergrast

Her white hair used to be as blue-black 
as the loiterers sipping from puddles 
in her dinner-plate yard.

Mother says when she forgets to feed them
her day-old breadcrumbs, they squawk and squat
like spoiled children begging for candy.

Even more amazing, she tells me, 
the crows will follow her car. 
They will swarm above her and then wait, 
cackling, on signposts, gutters, and carts, 
at the grocery store where they know 
she will fetch their next meal.
Their eyes only for Mother.

I’ll prove it.
She turns and raises her arm. 
Time to eat!
But she drops nothing.

Kahuaw, Kaw! 

I follow her Ford with my Chevy, 
binoculars in one hand,
my eyes on the sky. 
Yes — the whole flock darkens 
into a swirling black crown.

A mile down the road, I park next to her car.  
She is standing in empty space—waving
at cold, thin air —

and they hold open their beaks,
ready for communion.

Stacy Pendergrast earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Chatham University in Pittsburgh. When she was in Pittsburgh, she recognized how much she missed the mountains in the beloved Arkansas of her childhood. She moved back to Arkansas to first live in the Ozarks. Currently, she teaches at NorthWest Arkansas Community College where she edits The Low Valley Review. Her work has appeared in Blue Mesa Review, Yemassee, and Sliver of Stone

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