After I pulled the first crow from your chest,
the others followed, coughing, wet feathers edged
with silver. They huddled under the pale skin
of the cedar drum, wingtips rustling rawhide.
Twelve turquoise eyes. Six pale black beaks,
all of them chanting:
Hot rain scalds your throat.
Swamp mud coats your lungs.
Death bird opens her heavy
wings in your chest.
Gripping their scaled legs, I threw them out
and shut the window. All night crows rasped
from the ghost sycamore as I walked slow circles,
tapping the drum in time with your breath.
By morning they had faded to withered leaves.