Today's poem is by Marsha Truman Cooper

Attitudes of Crows

Out in a storm to shoot
a pair of crows using my fastest film,
the couple developing together
on a telephone wire, their beaks
stretched open, click,
ready to eat the smile
off the very face of lightning—
in photo after photo, I held up
time stopped at the beginning
of strange inclinations.

The creatures'
bodies bent like witches'
robes, feathers sharp,
whole garments flying scrap
and I joked that their
shapes created an inkblot
test and a diagnosis
of madness, wild messages
flashed during crow
weather, all high-court reproofs.

Then one day I found
a crow on its back, eyes
already filling with ants.
For a reason I cannot explain,
I touched the creature's belly,
its luster, and saw the eyes stir.
As I knelt, crows yelled
from nearby eucalyptus, scolded me
or the ants or the dying
bird for letting go,
or for not hurrying it done.

I'd arrived without my camera,
free to use my eyes and notice,
closer than the crows,
one turkey vulture perching
voiceless in the matter
but whose infallible nose detected
molecules, mere puffs of gas,
the perfume of feast.

For a reason I can explain,
mysticism and taxonomy failed.
I'd witnessed, unprotected,
what occurred before people
fingered the walls of caves—
caws evolved before human ears
misheard their meaning, before
machines could rule out everything
except exactly what I want to see,

Copyright © 2017 Marsha Truman Cooper All rights reserved
from Southwest Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

Archives  Web Weekly Features  About Verse Daily  FAQs  Submit to Verse Daily  Follow Verse Daily on Twitter

Copyright © 2002-2017 Verse Daily All Rights Reserved