channeling the crazy crow woman

how must I look – this graying
Botticelli who walks with crows
in a constant spray of black cawings,
a dark-feathered wind I would not dispel

one is for Sorrow, two is for Mirth,
and the bursting laughter of those first
brought the flock that now follows glossily,
seeking tidbits from one who says “well hello”

but oh, how the superstitious must
inwardly flinch (irrational reflex!)
and it’s funny to me how a feather can
so clearly draw a divide between them and me

pshaw! and caw! to all of you fragile-minded
things – flightier even than crows –
they are a gift the same as my mad curls and I
will revel in them both for as long as life allows

© Sarah Whiteley

My mom insists that I ought to write and illustrate a children’s book about the crows that have adopted me. Truth be told, I’d already had a few half-formed thoughts about that before she mentioned it. Trouble is I’m an impatient sort of artist – I want to feel the immense satisfaction of completion before I’ve put the proper amount of effort into it I think. The result of course is sloppy art. Ha! One of these days I’ll put down a few sketches and see if I can muster the enthusiasm for such a project.

In the meantime, I do sometimes wonder what sorts of thoughts are going through the minds of the people who have given me odd (or yes, even shocked) looks when walking by the entourage that is me, two dogs, and anywhere from 2-12 crows (depending on time of year).

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Hair.

I. Don’t. Cut. My. Hair.

-well, except for maybe
a little trim now and then,
but not so’s you’d notice-

It’s been two decades
since I s(h)aved it all
and (s)hoved it all
in that /hateful/ boy’s face
two days before the prom
and (it along with) my sharp-
boned shoulders (s)ticking above
that dress /bluest blue for
truest true/ made me look like
love’s refugee escaped
to the other side of the fence.

Mother took the picture anyway.

After a year of getting
my fuzz petted and patted
(feels better than you’d guess-
it’s how I learned I purred)
I donned again my Samson’s face
-now with breasts, but minus the dress-
and I. Don’t. Cut. My. Hair.

© Sarah Whiteley

Props to my mother, who really did take that picture anyway. It’s a wonder she didn’t drink.