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Tuesday, April 09, 2019


by Susan Carlson

Crows by Mary Quite Сontrary

A crow floats past on level wings
—D.H. Lawrence, "Winter-Lull"

You woke up dark.  Troubled by a murder
of crows, the ones that were circling our roof.

I was reading the New York Times, focused on words
flocked in columns, the orderly murmuration of print.

The world’s a scary place, sure, and worse
is today.  Of course I knew that, holding

as I was, so much of it right there in my hands.
But not enough for you.  You wanted to know

why we continue cruelly to evolve when there is enough
to eat.  Why does now have to be a harbinger flying

the foreboding flag of then?  I wanted you to leave me alone
in my Midwest nest where I am responsible and planned

to recycle the paper I was folding up, green citizen that I am, despite
refusing electronic notification of the state of our planet, its trees.

You refused your morning coffee, asked me to google what it means
when a place is centered in the silent swoop of level wings.

You made me watch them, those crows, made me wait for
their caw.  Look, you said, just look at the effort their occasional

intermittent conversation requires.  And when one came to rest
on a branch just long enough for me to see his brunette breast

compress with the quick bark of what he had to say that day –
I was compelled to hear it again.  And so we found ourselves

silence-bound beneath their somber wave.  All those crows folding above
ground, weighting our wait for what was to be a dire and dismal cry.

Susan Carlson lives, works, and writes in southeastern Michigan. She has attended workshops including Tin House, the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Her poems have appeared in Your Impossible Voice, Pretty Owl Poetry, The Literary Nest, The Other Journal, and Typishly, among other journals.