She headed for a clump of weeds when we appeared. Her wing hung down too low, sagging while she walked, big and black, considering. She gauged the distance to the top of a stump where the lawn ended in unmown grass. Back and forth she would pass then every now and then she’d make a jump which failed.
Her pain we had to surmise. She was silent, gave out no cries and there was no visible dread in her eyes. Somehow she reminded me of a dream I had too many times in which I pushed against a door to keep a rapist out and felt along the floor with my foot to find the doorstop. On the other side he pushed and I knew there was no doorstop.
The crow’s plight was hopeless yet she didn’t scream for help or make a single extreme move. She seemed to give each fact its proper weight. Like a hardened soldier combat-shaped, she sought the logic of escape, calculating where and how, what it would take. Never why? but only where her powers lay or failed to lie. She was as intent upon the task at hand as if it were salvation.
For now, she walked away from cats and us, evading death—a casual chore. When darkness came, her fate was sealed. She was too wild for us to heal and technically a pest, but hurtful to ignore. She walked. The red of blood marked her fearless, glossy back.
In the morning when I came out, the tailless cat seemed to lick its chops then slither low to the ground. In the tall, dry grass where the crow had been there were no dark feathers anywhere.
Lita Kurth has an MFA from Pacific Lutheran University, has published in three genres in journals and anthologies, and has had Pushcart nominations in both fiction and creative nonfiction. “Are We Not Ladies,” was nominated by Watershed Review for Best of the Net, 2017. “This is the Way We Wash the Clothes,” (CNF) won the 2014 Diana Woods Memorial Award (Lunchticket). Her creative nonfiction “Pivot,” and short story, “Gardener’s Delight” (Dragonfly Press DNA) were nominated for Pushcart Prizes. A sampling of publications: Atticus Review, Brain, Child, Main Street Rag, Microfiction Monday, The Millions. In 2013, she co-founded San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum, a popular reading series.