Black feathers and regrets
Have I ostracized myself from crow-society for eternity? Only time will tell.
On a late August day in the mid-90’s I met a crow in Union Square.
Before the Greenmarket got popular—when it was only there one day a week and the only regular was the guy selling wheatgrass; when it wasn’t smooth octagonal cobbles but rough blacktop—that was when I found the crow. I was seventeen. I don’t know how old he was.
The sun was hiding behind the hazy, overcast sky pressing down on the city, making it feel like the whole thing was inside a dog’s yawn. I’m sure the crow would have flown away had he been able, but his wings had been clipped. I use the generic ‘he’ because it’s virtually impossible to guess the gender of a crow without an autopsy. The feathers around his head and neck were ragged and jutting out, and his head movements were rapid, manic.
Typical New Yorkers, they ignored him as they passed. The only hint of their acknowledgment was the detour they made around him. I knelt down close and slipped into that bubble, and the crowd flowed…
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