Apr/May 2010 Poetry

Crows: The Yard

by Sharon F. McDermott

Crows: The Yard

Here's the digestible map: tracks of the great
black birds in the snow. You have fed the monks

of the winter trees shelled nuts, sunflower
seed, suet, and they've gone off to pray. The world

blizzards by, whitens like the knuckles of a fearful
hand. You have fed the black-coated warriors

grapes, dried berries, bits of days-old bread, and they
have gone off to battle. February carves itself

ice sculpture. Great clouds of crows eclipse
the falcon's own lonely hunger which cries out

like a high wind: shree! shree! The map is a trudged
field, the snow fills footsteps behind you. You fed

the thieving humps, cloaked and hunkered down
in oaks and elms. You fed them all, driven simply

by their hunger, and they circled like a great smoke
ring. Here's the digestible map: the cold world brings

out need, eyes that pierce like stars. You learn to feed
what cannot feed itself, the catcalling monks, the cassocked

friars. Call down the great black fire—trees will feather
into wings and move closer: the answered prayer, nearing.


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