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September 2017, vol 13 no 3

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Claire Everett


"Corvids are so clever," she enthuses, delicately clutching her sandwich by its crust as if it were a lace handkerchief and she Mrs. Tiggywinkle. "I have seen films where they ski down snowy rooftops just for fun. And bring people treasures. Beads and twinkles of glass. To say thank you for the breadcrumbs. Or for mending my wing."

She ventures so far as sniffing the kibbled quarter of her lunch, then sets it back on the plate.

"I like crows, too," I say, sliding the water jug a little closer.

"Oh, not just crows. Rooks, ravens, magpies, jackdaws. They are social creatures too."

Six years old. She pinions me with a gap-toothed smile.

"And pigs. Pigs are the best." She is tentatively poking her sandwich now, as if to check it's still breathing (but careful not to wake it, all the same).

"I saw a pig doing a puzzle. The wooden kind with shapes. He knew a circle from a square. Easy peasy. He did it with his teeth." She nods towards her sister (who is already on dessert). "Pigs are at least as intelligent as a three year old human. That means they're like Grace.

Why don't we have pet pigs? They're just as nice as dogs."

I wrack my own brain for a response.

Too late. She peers at her sandwich, as if trying to slip her eye between the slices.

"Do you mind if I ask . . . did this come from an animal?"

red sky morning
through a slat in the truck
a sow’s ear