The Hard Nature of Crows
from Selkie Singing at the Passing Place
© Sarah Miller, 2015

They have the hard nature of crows,
dark hooded shapes
pecking over the wasteland,
preening,
squawking at any
that wander
onto their territory,
plucking out eyes,
ripping flesh,
blackening the sky of whole estates.
I try not to judge them,
but I have seen their claws -
sharpened knives,
machetes,
bragging the air
like stuttering semi-automatics.
They have tarred and feathered their nests.
They have made their own bombs.
I know they can't help it,
they are just following their nature
and nature is hard;
stray chicks are vulnerable,
easy prey,
picked off
in ragged acts of aggression.
I know it's not their fault
they have the hard nature of crows,
but I know how they earned their collective name.
Yes, I know why they call them a murder.