Metamorphosis: A Crown of Crow Feathers

Laura Ma

If the children we raise were

songbirds, wide-eyed speckled songbirds,


then it would be a different story. We would keep them in our palms,

heartbeats gently pulsing, fingers soothing all nervous feathers. We would


teach them ancestral songs—those chords, those tones, all light and all hush.

We would keep them in motherly cages, forged

                              with eternity in mind.


But the children we’re raising, their bones are hollow and vast:

                              they are crows,


crows who are meant to fly with each other, meant for

something greater than us. They are the children of the sun, bright


and blinding, divine oracles and messengers of Apollo, dripping

omens from their tongues and stuffing prayers into their marrows.


They are crows who choose to wreath themselves with barbed laurels,

                              a crown of thorns, willing to carry the burdens of history


and its relics, soaring alongside Death, bargaining for one future after the next.

Because one-by-one, they molt from songbirds to crows, clutching scales and swords,

               singing justice instead of songs.


               Because eons from today,

our children will make bitter poetry and hard prose, they will carve


a golden record for the world to listen to and to absolve, concatenating

the sounds of love and the music of our souls, etching the songs


that we taught them into the histories of tomorrow. a new dawn howling, the wind will

remember our verses; the earth, our runes—all for centuries and millennia to come.


So, if our children were

                              crows, fluttering, impatient, heroic crows, they would

live our stories, garble the same omens, wear the same bleeding crests, and

soar the same paths we did, all those years past,                              Once so long ago.

About the Author

Laura Ma is a high school writer from California. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Pollux Journal, Juven, The Bitchin' Kitsch, The Aurora Journal, and elsewhere. Obsessed with alternate universes, she loves imagining the what-could've-been. At midnight, you can find her exploring aesthetics and wishing that it would rain. She tweets @goldenhr3 on Twitter.