Monday, October 29, 2001

Two For Joy

The view from now:


There’s a crow in my sights, perched on top of parked truck. My hands, raised to my face like a filmmaker’s scouting locations, make black shapes of birds on either side of him. Three for a girl.

I drop my hands. It wasn’t to be, of course. But the Wednesday before, waiting for D’s doctor to call with the test results, I’d started counting crows. An old superstition to tell the future. There was a rhyme:

One for sorrow, two for joy,
Three for a girl, four for a boy...
Three crows. That’s when I knew.

On Wednesday night, after hearing that D was five weeks along, we held hands in an uneasy conflux of exultation and foreboding. Her fingers fluttered in mine like wings.

D miscarried the next day, Thursday. Lost our daughter. And I knew it was a daughter (though the fleshy clot in D’s flow was not even the size of a fingertip). I knew. The crows had told.

Now it’s Monday, a Monday bitter as milkweed, and there’s one on a truck in the parking lot, a single deathbird like a rag in the wind. I raise one hand again; this time my fingers are a pistol. I’ll give you one for sorrow, you black-winged bastard, I murmur, and take careful aim.

“Boom,” I whisper.
And from nearby someone answers: Kaw kaw.

Another. Partners: this one hidden, but not far away. Startles me with a sudden cry and a rush of wings; changes the equation, leaving me in a whirlwind of feathers, surprised by joy.