A Suspicion of Omens by Michele Waering

Ten magpies—one leucistic—perch
on barbed wire above the railway line
five either side of a crow

a suspicion of omens from my window

an honor-guard
a statement of strength in numbers
a warning

a school for omens a lecture theatre
awaiting the crow’s wisdom

but he is hunched slightly
aware of his cousins’ undoubted abilities

ten magpies—one leucistic—
sharp-beak-ready to peck away
his deep feathered cloak
his indiscriminate eyes
if he requires their children

An attention to omens
from my window it’s the small birds I fear for
the small birds
who may inherit the earth well before I am willing
to let go of their chattering wonder
their miraculous bones

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