Illustration by Isabel Garcia.

deathbirds’ cries

when i had spent about 11 years of life comfortably lived and was heading toward my 12th, i decided to shave my scalp bald, just to see what would happen. i headed down the street to the barbershop, and began to have daydreams of parts of my skin falling off with the clumps of thick, dark hair. what i would have given to be nothing but a skull.

the barber asked me if i was sure that i wanted to get rid of all that hair, and i said yes. i said yes because i was ready for a change, and besides, what did i have to lose! however, as he began to roll the blade over my head, i noticed something unusual. with each piece of hair that fell, another crow found its way on top of my scalp. soon, there were almost six little crows clawing at me and making that awful noise that deathbirds always make.

being quite shocked, i said, “look at all the crows roosting on my bald head,” but the barber didn’t see it, and the chimney girls with braids all down their skinny little backs didn’t see it, and my own father and mother didn’t see it. i began to think i was going quite mad, or perhaps i had been mad already.

i grew my hair out, and one by one, the crows began to leave their makeshift nests and fly away. today, the crows are all gone. sometimes, when i am drifting off to sleep, i can hear the deathbirds’ cries rattling about my mind. and lately, i’ve been so lonely that i wouldn’t mind having them back.