The Culture of Crows

Crows keep their enemies close,

roosting deep within borders of human

habitat, peppering landfills,

buzzing traffic

and dropping acorns,

bustling with pedestrians,

to claim their snack.

 

An old maple’s branches are beaded

with crows, street lamp guarding

their sleep, and at sunup,

young crows tease rubber strips

from windshield wipers,

their mother’s belly lowered

onto pulsing eggs, relatives bringing

French fries, popcorn

and a snake soaked in a bird feeder,

head wagging like a toy.

 

Hunters leave crows’ corpses scabbing

the fields, and owls deliver swift

decapitation.

Blue-black against an icy lake,

an old crow poaches fishing holes; 

beak pulling, foot holding, 

cleverness charted 

by some scientist sweating in a ski mask,

crows bringing back-up to dive-bomb 

that tormentor spotted later,

shiny top of his head a target—

or maybe it’s one of their own 

evoking judgment 

and sent tumbling from the sky, 

community showing its other face 

to the weak,

the awkwardly flapping, 

as the joyful, lethal 

cloud descends.

The Original Van Gogh's Ear Anthology

and Heirloom Bulldog