Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

crow flies through fog never knowing where to land / Crows need other crows / like a smooth monster skull cracking a jawline /



Pine and sandalwood wrap deep L bend curves around one needle/ one wood chip / one black
feather assembles ink quill / penetrates pores / one cavity is heart trunk and defends the innocent
/ one husk is snow and strange

the crows compose tea for the ceremony / orange peels and lavender/ chisel a bone handle
/ omnivores are welcome on D street / a beak slashes road squirrel guts /a pinch of cheek marrow
/ a thigh freckle / overgrown ivy garden / discoloration grows all night / evolve mist / c mixes
hops / r rings in hope / o is mouth / w hills and valleys fifteen year erosion / aroma basil grits
down neck mountain / the program on repeat / drips man made salt elements

onto cotton, red blood cells, third crow toe crunch

fine red arm hairs needles / a Navajo weave / airtight more casual Friday eyelash/ the sun fire
jealous pierces a gatekeeper/ blinds brass locks/ the first crow spontaneously combusts / too
much for a Tuesday wingspan

Second act:

heat naked shoulders / over a burner / under the sheets / splayed to darken/ turn over / all crow
eyes closed/ flown the coup / wrestle the sky / latecomers standing room only/ bound to chairs/
closing credits role / cue music cue coffin/ whirligig / desiccate tiny soul memory pieces

One brief intermission / second crow host mixes wind and twig in a cauldron / remembers /
a nuclear mouth welded to a second mouth

Rewind to First Act:

beard teeth grow chin to chin welts / the fourth crow greets one lone crow/ perched on the dead
sea scrolls before the flood went live / outside the watch tower/ caw to six / caw to dusk / caw to
rain / this is the sixth day of the sixth month / clock reads upside down stitch in nine saves one
more soul piece


scent of neck in hair / low chair seat backs mingle sweat on a Ben Sherman tank top
Royal Air Force targets one crow for practice / one to spin dirty neat / Pandora screams petri dish
poser / the alley way is clear for a quick run into the cemetery / tea steeped for one century old
brain smack in the middle of swallowing / how it shines, slides to exit.

Third Act:

a side bar for cohesion
the holes between stairs
the locks over bikes

The fourth and sixth crows hold crusts in mouths / it’s black talon sharpness proud / a new
acquisition / a treat not discovered every day / the chemistry out of this world / mouth bruises
/ large hands / brick thighs the rough voice of the

crow flies through fog never knowing where to land / Crows need other crows / like a
smooth monster skull cracking a jawline / They don’t know how to chop up their life into pieces
/ whirl around like protein powder / catch the dust magic in air / chomp it all to hell / rejuvenate
greenery in winter / begin again two hours later / spin Spring/ Like birds, we have to drink spit
every two hours / crushed by arms / singed by sheets

The crows gather atop the last dead tree on Douglas street / empty wings / Does she commit to
pattern, to ritual, like the crows / make the drive common / Funerals are never the same and yet
always the same / she knows when to pick up speed, when to pump her legs, when to accelerate,
when to turn on the taste / exits split fast like soup / loud music / the signs / the letters / the trash
/ for the birds / when does different become too same / is too same not good / ends with a numb
animal lying on its back


rises up gargoyle-like from below the stair / creates a bed dichotomy / fervor feast / eight limb
octopus party / grabtheslats / smothered twisted rib weight / two fingers down a throat / the only
way he expresses his noise / one arm pinned / she feels like half body under his whole body /
wants more fullness / wishes she could be whole for him / his demon speed always at his back /
the wings beating over shoulder blades / heat to consume / conspire against / when he smashes /
incredibly close / too much to bear / she feels the demons stalking around the room / hovering
over the mattress / prying open her mouth / she spits them out / takes him instead / cannot close
the loop holes fast enough / the clock hands whirl / the heat rising red and orange in her ears / a
freight train tunnel animal and midnight third eye / her arms / broken birds

later / exhausted she can pin him / he lets her / crawl over him / a flesh limb insect / fingers and
mouth to taste / he’s clean now / she wants him rough and mussed / she wants him spent and
filthy / she wants his flesh pried from his bones / arm hairs she wants to tear out / to hear him
scream / the strands like cities too populated / the colors of his skin blend into skulls and wheels
/ the lotus too pretty for daylight transport / the shadow faces throw themselves on the walls
/ like religion / moves like Buster Keaton cinema / the body storm culled / she thought I must be
different / to be here / in this windowless bedroom / with the cemetery outside / she cannot tell
the color of the walls / in the dark / watching herself watch him / who always seems like an
outsider / the fists that clench / the tree trunk thighs / the gravel voice / so much to outpour / so
many stories left on the couch