Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Poem: originally published by The Wild in 2009


A Crow and Two Beer Bottles

are all you see as you skim
the arc of the highway entrance ramp.
Bottles crusty with mud
and embedded in pools of roadside grit.
Bird pecking in slow motion
at some dead mysterious stuff
in the grass on the verge.

Picture the empties flying
like headless corpses out of a pick-up.
Picture wall-to-wall crows
and acres of bones stripped clean.
Soldiers pouring beer down
their throats in between shifts
so they won’t wake up
when they scream in the night.
Crows caught mid-flight
by a swarm of bullets,
because we can’t accept
their roosting among us as kinship.

Beer bottles layering calluses over the heart.
Birds stripping flesh in long
streamers that look like ticker tape.
Bodies, crusty with mud, wearing
crows where their eyes used to be
Crows like big fat masks
you put on for Mardi Gras.

Chip your tooth on a
bottle if you’re not careful.
Play your little ivories like dice;
get the crows to curl round as little dots
And you’ve got yourself a craps game.

This is what it’s come down to:
your cat obsessed every night,
with attacking the little
half moon of streetlight,
that shines through the window
onto the opposite wall,
and you, in your post-election funk,
feeling apocalyptic enough
to leap at a pair of images
over and over until
your mind goes numb.


Helen McKinlay said...

This is a really powerful poem Eileen. Lots to discover. Love what you have done with the image of a crow and two beer bottles. And then
'This is what it comes down to:your cat obsessed every night....Great stuff.

Michelle Elvy said...

Oh my goodness, one of my favourite poems this week. So dense with images and sounds and moments caught. Very memorable, for me. I love the crows like masks at Mardi Gras... and the ending is unexpected and terrific.

Ben Hur said...

Great poem, Eileen.

Have a Happy World Poetry Day.


Andrew Bell