Then and There

A rook snags a branch in the sycamore
outside my bedroom window. That’s not what
I’m thinking about. It’s a distraction.
It’s material for a nest. It’s slow motion
suicide with feathers. It’s sweet Emily
dipping into the snuff. It’s my grandmother
pulling peppermint lifesavers out
of her giant purse. It’s black leather gloves.
It’s a ghost peeping into my skull.
It’s material, maternal. It’s nothing
more than a crow so black it takes away
the sun. Takes away these thoughts. Let’s say
I decided then and there to become
a poet. Later I watched a crow pick the guts
from a dead squirrel and knew there was
more than love in the world.
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The surprise clusters of brown pears punctuate the leaves. My children burst down the pickers’ lane their feet smashing the rotten fruit into a fragrant mess, a prayer in earth. It is all too much.