National Poetry Month: The Crow Road

Iain Banks wrote a disgustingly sexist novel with this title that I choked down so that I could learn more about Argyll. The only thing I learned is that women can supposedly send Morse Code with their vaginal muscles. ANYWAY…if you’ve ever read my short story “Some Divine,” you know that I’m all about crows as psychopomps. And that’s what I was about in this little poem.

The Crow Road

As I flung peanuts to the crows
Black shapes
Cawing and flapping
Against the Cimmerian sky
My youngest daughter asked
Why do we feed them?
Are they our pets?
Oh, no, I told her
I feed them because they have
A hard job
Crows have jobs?
She crinkled her nose
Oh, yes, they do.
I’ll tell you
They fly long nights
On the crow road
To brightly lit hospitals
Foggy byways, lonely beds
Movie theaters, malls, and parking lots
Bloody streets torn
By war and greed
And to cribs,
Suddenly silent
The crows carry the souls
To the land invisible
Where sweet pipe smoke curls between the
Broken teeth of Death as he directs
Each wing to land where fated…
My daughter looked at me as if
I were from Mars
She’s eight and already a smartass
I sighed, and
With a wave of my hand, I said
Here, child
Give them some peanuts
And hope that the crows
Take those
Instead of you

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