The Crow's Demise
I didn’t see it die but keep an eye
on its death – untouchable, unknowable
I cannot stop to contemplate its black confusion
while caught in pedestrian currents. Wings broken
by mysterious throes, spread in silent shock
I track its stillness, head turned down as if
to hide a fall from grace. It – I want to say you –
catch my sorry eye as the homeless do.
What world of quick undoing is at work
beneath your oily shroud of plumage?
Your span stuck in hopeless flight, finally
beaten by gravity. And if I’m not mistaken
you’ve moved. A curious cat or child?
You’ve been taken down by circumstance
to suffer the indignity of daylight robbery.
This morning I showed you to my partner.
You are, at least, at rest, beside something
we call beautiful: a humble tribute to the Trevi
which in these coldest months is quiet, empty.
Neptune’s white cohort waits for warmth, waits
for a sign to take up water again. Maybe you
drank from there when you were one of the living
& stood in contrast to the scene: loud, crowded
but safely inanimate. Now only broken glass & leaves.
The breeze reaches a wing, moves feathers nostalgic.
Why is it I’m more interested in your death?
While there is much I’ve missed, I’ve witnessed this
the very thing we’re blessed & cursed to know:
one body in the face of nature’s faultless pace;
one bird, one grave patch of grass that before my eyes
will always bear your final changes. Appearances
will fall, the shroud be done & death’s last act remain.
Remains. This is all that’s left of you. Bones
empty of all that was used for a vital end, your brittle
frame a cage picked dry by the things you ate.
The only direction you have left to go is
down, stuck sinking into insignificance &
down through the town’s underbelly &
down so far from any of this I