When Crows Fly
by Mark Butler

The crows are arrayed on the
choicest branches, swearing in their own
crow way, telling lies, taking note.

Neeko has been awake
listening to his heart's thud,
the whoosh of his blood,
the wheeze in his lungs.
He knows, in his own dog
way, that the birds are waiting.
It feels like fight night...

The door rattles and the man
who saved him strokes his ears,
tells him he is a good boy.

Neeko's heart soars.

Out walking with the man
he feels something close to love.

The crows dive and cartwheel
overhead cawing and screaming,
swooping in, slashing with their
coarse feathers.

They plod along, he and the man.
Neeko swings his head side to side,
chanting in his own dog way,

no killing...no killing...no killing.

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