Crows and the Gunshot

by Neil McCarthy

             for Stephen Byrne


Clear and clean of clutter, the room welcomed my wife

like a red carpet to the door of a limousine on Oscar night.

She strode in, graceful as spring sunlight gentle against

the season's first crocus, elegant as a sheet playing

matador with the wind, fragrant as a valley bursting with

jasmine and fuchsia in the morning after the rain.

I clicked “Like.”.


We sat for dinner, a careful offering of colour and

quantity, a transitory beauty crafted in artistry and effort.

The candle flickered when the plates were rested and the

shadows that they cast aligned to point to wine,

a Pinot that had travelled from the vines of Napa -

one bottle she had saved for an evening such as this.

I posted a picture online and 8 people clicked “Like.”


With a fork like a Drum Major's baton, she spoke hungrily

about what the world needs, about positive action,

the mirage of educated voters; courage, equality,

tolerance, passion; the necessity to stand up and be counted

and not just be one of a billion sedentary onlookers

for whom the planet is a hotel room in Vegas.

I agreed and clicked “Share”.


A gunshot may scatter the crows, she said, but when the

crows come back we'll see that the gun is not the answer.

We'll Thelma-and-Louise it, I urged, Bonnie-and-Clyde it,

she bettered, Sundance-and-Butch it, I proffered but she

was already leaning in for a kiss. And in the room's auburn

glow, with a satisfied stomach and a heart full of fire,

I exchanged my wife for a meme.