I wouldn’t be a scarecrow, if I had been given the choice.
A straw-stuffed frankenfarmer
With a beetle-gnawed hole in my jaw,
I fail to emote my fixed face,
Smeared on with a tar-based roof sealant.
I’m graced with the holey garment of a beer-stained saloon shirt
And crucified for the sins of raccoons and earworms.

The crows hide in their nests or camouflage
In the shade of corn stalks and stand at parade rest
Like the crop’s entourage.
The bold ones spit seeds at me
And cackle as carpenter ants chew on my wrists,
Shackling me like little black prayer beads.

If I had been given the choice, I wouldn’t be a scarecrow.
I would’ve crawled into the headspace of my creator,
Sat on cracked stump throne as dictator
And slaughtered the crows
With an archaic pump action shot gun.
I’d make a mosaic of the shells of crow-killing bullets
And bury the birds six feet closer to hell.


Emily Dempsey is a sophomore Creative Writing major who won Best Short Story and was a runner-up this year and winner last year in the Academy of American Poets Prize. She works as both a Theatre Technician and Stage Manager for the Mukund S. Kulkarni Theatre. She is involved in the Capital Players Theatre Club on campus, enjoys drawing and journaling, and used to swim competitively but has now probably forgotten how.