Encounters with Crows

The caw-caw from low in the acacia tree
grated like sandpaper
Too close and aggressive to be conversational
More like the threat of thunder
Or an adrenaline needle plunged into memory
of a black storm a foot from my face
Eyes as still as the storm’s center
offset by slap of wings and flap of beak

The cause of a daily walk with weapons
An umbrella or baseball bat
and the armor of a wide-brimmed hat
Yet the pummeling from my own heart
The rock of dread so heavy and deep that Hitchcock
has buried his playground scene beneath it

These ghosts do not rest in peace
They peck away wanting recognition
for the job of nature’s clean-up crew
For transforming death into life
They want awareness of black bigotry
and encroachment on orchards and fields

By those who hear the unnerving calls but not
the varied clicks, rattles and bell-like tones
Music ignored by those
who mistake the need for nest hair
as an act of aggression

One morning the sky blurs with half notes
Airwaves carry a cacophony of caws
In the oak tree hundreds of crows
hunch their shoulders with each cry
The sandpaper shield covers a baby fallen from its nest
And I feel the rock move in my chest
The whoosh of wings as Hitchcock’s ghosts fly away

Handfuls of cat food litter the patio now
A plastic bag with brown curly hair protruding
from holes hangs from an oak tree
I sometimes sit in the backyard straining to hear
sounds that hint of childhood church bells
Like it was Easter Sunday

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About the Author

Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Her fourteenth chapbook, Sex and Other Slapsticks, was recently released from Presa Press. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. She also teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.

Ellaraine Lockie
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