The Impossibility of Crows

After shot and wary echo I remember

the rhythmic swing of a forgotten bell—

whistling rounds off mark.

One bird is sin, two, chance.  Three means life.

Or luck.  Herd watching from the woods,

which escapes or finds its way to other guns.

Leaning through recoil into the whispered

blade, under prayers of purple meat—

we give what we have to give,

and grow accustomed to the vulnerable.

Fire of leaves and shed of hanging haunch.

Underfoot the shadows talk—

He flays the skin one way, springs bones

another.  How we are to find ourselves.  Gone

to town with flesh in paper—heart, liver, loins.

Four is wealth, five, disease.  Six makes death.

Winter's black wings wrap the sky's body.

Winter's beak tucks down the carcass field.

To go down to sleep with crows

beside the fresh and kicking soul.

The flock is massing.  Draw me to a kill.

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