How to Start a Movement, According to Crows

Grayscale photo of bird perched on branch

I hear them
before I see them.

By the tone,
the meeting is important.
I see flutters
of wings,
like black leaves,
not falling but

rising, from tree
to tree,

until they’ve formed a circle
of protection,
one bird per tree,
for a 40-yard

They don’t sing,
they protest,

even the two
silently perched
on bare branches,
out of sight,

but not out of
the watchful ear.

After several minutes of quiet,
each bird flies
in a different direction
to expand
their circle of protection.

Their call and response continues,
now from a hundred yards away.

I listen, with tears,
to their movement,
that change comes

only after
we reach
for change.

It doesn’t just take
a community;

it takes witnessing.

Poem by Kristin Yates

Kristin Yates is home-grown from the backyard, flora and fauna rooting inside the wilderness trail of Lewisville, NC. Her poetry has previously appeared in Salem College’s Incunabula, The New Verse News, and Tiny Seed Literary Journal. Her work can be found at: