Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Business of Crows

by Joseph Green

One of them has a discarded
half-pint milk carton
by its pinched top

and is banging it on the sidewalk.
Hopping with it, dragging it along,
he hefts it with his beak

and swings it against the concrete.
Then he pauses to inspect his work,
to adjust his grip before

picking up the carton
and smacking it down again.
Every time he hits the sidewalk

with the empty box
it makes a flat, satisfying plop.
Perhaps that’s all the crow wants,

the hollow report
he gets for his labor
confirming its emptiness.

As for me, I have stopped
on the way back to my office
to watch a crow’s involvement

with a milk carton. Sunlight,
filtering through bare trees,
stains the bird a dark blue

that slips to black
like secret ink and makes sense
only as his feathers move.

What could possibly be
more important than this?
I have no further excuses.

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