Yesterday afternoon an unusual event, around here that is, as I cleaned house. A scattered bleating of crows turned quickly to a sustained chorus. Both cats lept to attention, riveted, ears cocked: general quarters. Their watch drew me to the window, and the sight of dozens of crows gathering on nearby trees. The cacophony was remarkable, and when I slid open the window, deafening. Frigid air and bacchanale washed inward against me.
For a time more and more joined the party, til the winter branches flourished with a black spring, and the mad-inspiring refrain grew louder still, becoming like an iron wedge driven into the brain. When the very last had alighted, everyone fell silent – a leaden silence, the sound of loss.
I went back to chores after a few moments and when I returned to the window later, the branches were bare. The murder had gone off without so much as a whisper.
The cats had returned to their bunks, hoping either for undisturbed rest or another interruption.