Saturday, August 28, 2010
She walks the path, creaks open the door to the old Volvo, turns the motor over. I run. Up the stairs and into the attic, over the crossbeams and the pink fluff, toward the window. Outside the sun is pale and liquid. The crows are black and big. They knock their way around the sky, then knock back down into the crooked tree. Flying and settling and returning and flying and now the biggest crow caws down from the wide, green crown, and looks through the window at me.
I throw the sash up, push my head out, and watch as the sergeant crow stares and blinks, hops branches and twigs, hunches up his rubbery wings. When the door to Joey’s house swings open wide, the sergeant flies and the other crows fly, and now when I look past the tree, I see Miss Cloris standing at the edge of her porch, wearing a rainbow-striped tee and a bow in her hair. She lifts her glasses from the string around her neck and fits them to her nose and stares up at cross parts of the tree, like she’s wondering if the crows were a dream. She stares for a good long time, then shakes her head. “Now that was a bonafide crow party,” I hear her say to Harvey, who has scratched in beside her, held himself to the ledge of the porch, looking like he’ll fly, too, any second. She hums a little something, puts her hand on Harvey’s head. He wags his tail, stupendously. “You bad old pup,” she tells him, and now when she looks up into the crazy branches of the tree, she stops and shades her eyes with her hand.
“Hey,” she calls. “You growing an aviary over there?”
I shrug, don’t answer.
“You know what an aviary is?”
“Not really,” I say.
“It’s like a garden of birds. Takes a special someone to grow one.”