The Crow War

by Kathleen Bryson

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Last London night I was asking people if 

they knew the recipe for snow ice cream

Outside a sky navy blue and 

horizon lavender against the old sunset, 

I scooped the big orange bowl 

full of fresh snow; my Proustian mom added

the evaporated milk, the vanilla flavouring

and the cocoa powder from the steely Hershey’s

tin substantial in my compressing palms,

material reality like a coin or belt buckle

At home in Alaska there was always the orange bowl

but at elementary school continued silent treatment

by a girl I longed to be friends with 

she was not an extraordinary girl

but I felt she was special, unique, friend-desirable

via her disregard for me.

I was not an extraordinary girl

in her eyes or in those of

many classmates

Money can’t buy you love but

when I was eleven I exchanged my

library-dues refund of ten dollars

into countless but technically countable

small change and nickel-and-diming it

I threw silver never cheap tan coins

across the slick playground

to see my bullies and bullies-adjacent dive for change

There were nickels ice cubed up for weeks

chilled mosquitoes amber no coinage base greed ice

A dime fell heads or tails I won that day.


Last night I was asking people.

It has recently become a trend for bijou

delis to offer vegan ice cream dishes for dogs.

Everything’s so hot these days.

Last night I was asking people about

you far away on another continental bookshelf

then pretended I wasn’t.

Speaking of libraries a glut in the market

so now I live in a world where every

Little Library has no books save covertly deposited

paperbacks of Previous Harry’s Spare

so now I live in a world where charity shops

refuse this century’s Bartholomew’s 500 bejewelled hats

the cheaply hired mourner Mickey Mouse sweeping and weeping

as once the noble charity shops did for fertile,

spawning copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.

I was at a funeral ten years ago, a sad one, as they most often are.

Due to the deceased’s chequered career many

of those grieving were arthouse pornographers by trade

and at the wake the eroticists all bitched about

the financial success of in their mass informed opinions

the poorly written,


Fifty Shades of Grey. Cold hard cash.

We live in a cold world.


Me, now I live in a hot world.

I live in a world full of Little Library bookshelves

stuffed with unopened copies of Spare.

Would it kill ya to throw a little fifty shades this way.

Filthy lucre, piece of eight, 

like a piece of hell, like a piece of shiny L

Very Marie Antoinette despite being technically

on the dole for two months before the

new job kicked in before Rhodes burned I

bought a London loaf of artisan sourdough

when they didn’t have the oily focaccia I wanted

and then felt I didn’t want that many carbs

to walk off so I sat cross legged barefoot in the heat park

throwing all first the soft glutinous intestines then

the expensive upper crust to pigeons then

crows then a squirrel I was alarmed to see

I was the prime mover for inter-corvid violence

and indeed caused a crow war


end of story

© 2024, Kathleen Bryson “Nature Hater” by Kathleen Bryson