The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Crow Songs

Nicelle Davis

You say mother would send
you boys to shoot crows off her
rabbits. Strung from metal hooks
she’d slice anus to throat ripping
blood knuckled under the white
web of muscle, gristle, bone.

I remember the boys from out back
shooting birds. Imitating rock-
stars, biting heads off feathered
bodies. Puking at the taste of salt.
Eyes turning red from hocking up
the little death inside them.

* * * * *


So much depends upon the timing of things.

The poem that is your sworn enemy might have been your lover, had it not been dressed in sweat-pants and pink-foam curlers the day you met. You caught her off guard, so she made you feel stupid for not knowing what the hell those white chickens were about at the end of “The Red Wheelbarrow.” In her defense, she was just trying to protect herself from your judgment. She thought you might hate her, so she made sure you wouldn’t like her. She is sensitive and can’t emotionally afford her senses. For this reason, she’s a bit of a control freak. She loves control because she has none. She doesn’t want to control you; she wants to love you. But like most, she doesn’t know how. However, she tries and will continue to try—no matter how much it makes you hate her—to love you and be loved in return.

And this is why I love poetry, it is vulnerable the same way humanity is vulnerable to the timing of things. For you Poetry Hater, I hope that something like kismet happens between you and a poem—that you find yourself falling in love with poetry.

About the author

Nicelle Davis lives in Southern California with her son J.J. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review, Broadsided, Front Range, The New York Quarterly, Offending Adam, The Pedestal Magazine, SLAB Magazine, Two Review, and others. She’d like to acknowledge her poetry family at the University of California, Riverside and Antelope Valley Community College. She is an assistant poetry editor for Connotation Press and runs a free online poetry workshop at The Bees’ Knees Blog.