Crow Girl

by Erinn Batykefer

 

How everyone missed it is beyond me.

In old home videos, I’m knock-kneed

and scrawny, hopping around beneath

the cherry tree with t-rex arms curled

against my sides like misshapen wings.

I was eleven by the time my hunch

was misdiagnosed as scoliosis.

I wore a back brace and suffered lunch

alone for almost a year, long enough to lose

even pity friends. So I was by myself

at the edge of the playground when the wings

burst from my back, tearing through

skin and clothes and winter coat as I fell

to my knees and retched. Slick black feathers

dripped blood onto muddy snow,

and all I could think was How did they not know?

The me in those videos has black eyes,

cocks her head at the sound of her name,

and she loves shine: her room is packed

with spoons, knives, tin foil, cans.

The me I am now was a girl too long,

growing bones too heavy for wings.

I’ll never fly.  But I’ll remember that day.

Who hid their horror; who was kind.

Who saw only wings. Because crows remember.

They remember everything.

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