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Ornithologia Corvidae – Sarah McPherson

A Murder of Crows

The day I met him, the ornithologist told me corvids were the most intelligent birds. He kept telling that joke: attempted murder. I asked him if they used knives.

A Clattering of Jackdaws

I keep a jar of change – like my gran – for emergencies, though she raided it for cribbage night. His disapproval hovered, beady-eyed, when I picked pennies in the street.

A Band of Jays

He wanted me in fine feathers. I became talented at mimicry, playing a part, vibrant in blue – his favourite colour – my voice indistinguishable from his song.

An Unkindness of Ravens

It bothered him that I favoured myth over science. Thoughts and memories can be cruel, but I was happy, I suppose, before their dusk-shadowed wings swept between us.

A Charm of Magpies

The day I left, I caught my image looking out from the mirror and knew her, finally; sorrow and joy writ in monochrome, secrets safe behind sharp eyes.