How many crows make a murder?

How many crows make a murder? I asked
in the birdshit-covered Adirondack
chairs that hovered like watchful mothers
over the hotel pool. The two of us,
our white skin blinding in the Mumbai sun,
worked fingers over phone screens
to find the answer. The hotel manager
watched from his little perch,
kept sending free naan swimming in ghee
while bronzed men took our photo
every time their wives turned away.
It has to be at least three, you said.
I wasn’t so sure. Should three
constitute a murder? The big
black beasts that were stealing
our nuts and screaming for the naan
wouldn’t tell us. Murders
are a secret thing. Something
you don’t talk about in public, especially
with leopard print bikinis plastered
wet and scared like shaking children
against our goose-riddled flesh.

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a Cherokee poet and novelist. She’s the author of four collections of poetry, including Secret-Telling Bones, Orygun, What Makes an Always, and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo, as well as the novel The Wrong Kind of Indian. Jessica is the owner of a multi-award-winning writing services business, MehtaFor, and is the founder of the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement. Visit Jessica’s author site at

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