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Crow on Deansgate

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A moment was exchanged in the street, and I found it odd. Two women, travelling in opposite directions, had expressed mutual sadness, then continued on their way.

I walked up to the place where they had met, and there, in a sunlit corner, stood the petrified corpse of a crow. Still standing upright, eyes open, beak wide in the ghost of a caw, it might have been alive- were it not for the telltale stillness.

Because I am a writer, I want to find meaning in this gory statuette, but because this is real life, I do not get that consolation. The bird died, mid-cry, as creatures in pain tend to do. In the heat of the sun, its meat will not last long, and later this afternoon, the most underpaid employee at the shop it happened to die in front of will be sent out with a bin liner to dispose of it before it frightens customers away.

That strange bird who chose to die loudly and publicly rather than quietly out of sight will be thrown out with the rubbish.

And it won’t mean anything at all.