How to Trick a Crow Into Loving You by Josie Kochendorfer
If you want to bring a crow to your yard, get rid of anything that could scare them. Throw out your bells and windchimes and fix the squeaky hinges on the front gate. Get rid of reflective surfaces–they don’t like to look at themselves. Scarecrows don’t actually scare crows. Crows are smart birds. They will not be fooled for long.
Crows are attracted to things that look like themselves. Maybe dress in all black this fall. Wear black glasses and buy black doc martens if you don’t have any already.
Give crows food. Crows are not gluten free or low carb or on a cleanse; crows will eat anything. Spread your pantry on your lawn and let them eat seeds and nuts, canned peaches in syrup, and TV dinners. Feed them on a schedule and your crow will come to you like the alley cat who sleeps under your porch every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, like their life depends on you and yours on theirs.
Sit with your crow. Tell them your secrets and be the keeper of theirs. Build your crow a birdhouse and paint its name on it. Fill it with all of your crow’s favorite things. Tell your crow lullabies and lies and anything you think sounds nice. Do this, and you’ll have a friend for life.
If you decide you want to abandon your crow, do the opposite of how you attracted it. Buy more windchimes. Buy Halloween decorations that scream when you walk by and leave them up year round. Let your pantry rot. Board up the tiny birdhouse with toothpicks and wood glue. Maybe start a cleanse.
When you’ve gotten rid of your crow, breathe a sigh of relief. They’re not your problem anymore. Someone else will litter their lawn with all of the crow’s favorite things and the crow will look longingly, think fondly of you and what you once gave them. Or maybe the crow will never leave you, not quite, despite your best efforts. The crow will watch you from across the street. They’ll perch on your neighbor’s fence to see if you’ve given their birdhouse to another crow. They will follow you, if not in body than in spirit, tied to you somehow, inseparable and irreconcilable.
The years will pass and you’ll forget your crow, unable to pick her out in a lineup. She looks just like any other old bird. You’ve forgotten the sound she made when you fed her, the look in her eyes when you came home with a bag full of windchimes and mirrors.
She flew up to your house the other day, long after you’d forgotten her, up to one of the thousands of mirrors that now cover more of your lawn than the grass. She was frightened by her appearance. She hardly saw herself anymore, and she wasn’t sure she ever would. But she has a knack for recognition–though she can’t make out her own face, she’ll never forget yours.
Josie Kochendorfer (she/her) is a writer and educator based in Portland, Oregon. She holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and is pursuing her PhD in Literature and Criticism. Josie is a Best of the Net nominee, and her work appears or is forthcoming in Hippocampus, The Account, Barrelhouse, BarBar, and elsewhere.