The Crows Know — by Lori Baker Martin

In memory of Kerrie Ann Brown,
whose 1986 murder remains unsolved. 

A man who lived
near the edge of the woods
heard crows crying
that night. Something bad
was coming, he said. He didn’t know
about the dead girl then.

That morning, a woman
on a horse found her broken
beneath the elms.
She was like one of my own,
the woman said. She stayed
with her until the police came.

It’s a small town, and they’ve looked
at each other and at every strange face
but it’s as if a shadow took her,
her daddy says. And still,
those elm branches tremble
with a witness of crows

who spent the night
announcing his face
and they know.


Lori Baker Martin is assistant professor of English at Pittsburg State University. She’s had both poetry and fiction published in magazines like Prick of the Spindle, The MacGuffin, (parenthetical), The Little Balkans Review, Room Magazine, Grass Limb, The Knicknackery, and The Maine Review. Martin has taught creative writing at the University of Iowa, Independence Community College, and Pittsburg State University. She has worked as a reader for both The Iowa Review and NPR. Martin has been awarded for her work in The Cincinnati Review and Kansas Voices.  She is a graduate of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Martin is poetry editor for The Midwest Quarterly and is currently finishing a novel set in pre-Civil War Missouri.

April Editor Roy Beckemeyer‘s latest book is Mouth Brimming Over (2019, Blue Cedar Press).


6 thoughts on “The Crows Know — by Lori Baker Martin

  1. Lori, your poem gave me shivers, but it’s so well done. You managed to be as scary as Poe, but also touching. The ending really brought it home. Thank you.

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