Kate Peper

What the Witch Told Me

I know how to find treasure, she said. Your treasure, only for you.

How? I asked.

Follow the birds. They’ll be black. A murder of them flew east, where youth lives, 
orange and foolish. Wait until they roost, then put on your X-Ray glasses. Look up 
into their bellies. Be sure your pocket knife is sharp. While they’re cawing, slice 
the biggest one’s belly open. It has to be the biggest.

I did what she said and trash scattered on the forest floor. I poked at it with my blade, 
some of it papery, some of it snagged in clumps. The dead crow rolled its eye and spoke, 
Look closer. Early Girls on the kitchen sill. My brother hinging a stamp into his 
collection. All the pets buried behind the pool. My father’s hand I held after he died, the 
warm spot in his palm, size of a nickel. This is not a dream, the crow whispered.