The Crows and the Witches and the Window

October 2, 2012

Original

Rachel Swirsky holds an MFA in fiction from the Iowa Writers Workshop and graduated from Clarion West in 2005. Her short fiction has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Tor.com, Clarkesworld, and Subterranean Magazine, and been nominated for a number of awards, including the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the World Fantasy Award. In 2010, her novella “The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers Beneath the Queen’s Window” won the Nebula Award. As a kid, she watched too much Fairy Tale Theatre and memorized the score to Sondheim’s Into the Woods.

I’m probably going to die
at midnight.

Don’t worry—
I’ll set the timer on the coffee pot
before I go.

The crows will be up with me
and the witches.
I’ll watch them through the window
and they’ll watch me back.

I’ll crack the window
so I can smell
stew simmering in cauldrons.
I’ll give some thought
to how it might taste—
boiled lizard eyes
& toad brains
& fingernails of newt.

You’ll be asleep
but that’s okay.
The crows will bob their heads
in time to your snoring.

This morning, a witch came to our door.
She didn’t seem gloating or gleeful
or even wicked.
Not much.

She had a card with my name on it.
She gave it to me.
She tipped her black hat
and went back down the drive.

We thought you might want to know,
the card said.
Don’t worry too much.
It happens to everyone.

Maybe the witch had cast
a calming spell on the card
because I’m not concerned
about dying.

I’m ready to settle in with the crows
and smell the boiling hummingbird’s feet.
I’m ready to leave you with a clean oven
and coffee ready in the pot.

I’ll miss you
but I suspect the crows
will keep us up to date.
They talk to the dead, I think.
They must be watching something
with those keen, staring eyes.

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© Rachel Swirsky

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3 Comments

  1. Kim

    This is marvelous. I love a poem with narrative, and this one is intriguing in a quietly sinister way.

  2. Moncler Piumini

    Sono davvero infatti sinceramente grati alla titolare di sito web The Crows and the Witches and the Window | Apex Magazine,che ha condiviso questa grande fantastico pezzo di scrittura alle qui .

  3. www.mommiesplayground.com

    Enjoyed reading through this, very good stuff, thanks . “Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.” by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

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