Curing Pneumonia by Stephen Cavitt

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.


Stephen Cavitt
Stephen Cavitt

Stephen Cavitt teaches writing, leadership, and skillful living in the Southeast. He holds an MFA from Georgia College and is at work on a novel. He can be reached at professorcavitt@gmail.com or on his website: