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A Murder of Crows

August 22, 2011

by Emily Severance

Jim feels
feathers sprout
as the Old Crow takes hold.
while others take flight
in buicks and caddies
he’ll fly through
the storm—
super crow

whip up feather winds
smash store windows
caw caws calling up
a screech of party lights:
the whirr whirling
of red, blue and white
America.

wings pinned
in back seat
head high above
N.O. streets.

in central lockup
he still struts his stuff
but as time pecks by
his feathers fall

levees break,
raven black waters rise
sheriff and deputies
flock together and fly

Jim dreams a bobbing
boat in a bourbon bath

tipsy tipsy, top over down
guileless, gill-less,
submersed and drowned.


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Emily Severance teaches elementary special education in New Mexico. She has a BA from The Residential College at The University of Michigan and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She wrote this poem after reading the ACLU report on the treatment of prisoners at the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) during Hurricane Katrina.

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  1. Barbara LaMorticella
    October 3, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Oh this is a wonderful poem. From the title to the very last line.

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