CROW PLAN

Where do crows go when it rains?

I picture them in dusky

            midnight taverns,

the neon blush of Schlitz and Miller

            a dull patina on slick ebony feathers.

Others cluster in the hard

            shadows of alleyways,

            blinking at street-lights and pulling slowly

                        on shared cigarettes,

            waiting for morning.

 

When I look for them though, I find

            only the bar stools

            worn shiny by their scaly feet,

                        and cryptic crow graffiti

                        scrawled on the wet brick.

They must have a home

            but I do not know where it is.

 

To find it, I

            have been told I

            must have a plan.

By habit,

I decide to search first - all

            the places I do not

            expect to find crows,

so that I will not be

            greatly disappointed

            at my lack of success.

It is a comfortable plan

            but it does not help me to find crows.

 

I find pigeons though.

I decide that from now on I

            will look for them instead.

I am quite successful,

            though the search feels hollow.

There are many pigeons

            but I do not actually care

            where they go when it rains.

It is a comfortable plan

            but it does not satisfy me.

 

I make a new commitment to

            finding crows.

This time I will ask for help.

 An old man at the bar

            says he knows the place,

            his daughter married a crow.

His rough hands smooth

            a wrinkled napkin.

He draws a map.

I slip it into my pocket and leave.

Outside, I walk confidently

            in the opposite direction.

            I am not ready to find

            what I am looking for,

                        but I am unwilling to appear unsure.

It is a comfortable plan

            but it does not bring me any nearer to crows.

 

I stop.

The rain laughs in puddles

            on the sidewalk.

Time stretches between lamp posts.

A low light touches the

            heavy undersides of clouds

            to the east and I move again.

I walk randomly,

            navigating the narrow streets

            by intuition.

I am wet.

I am tired.

I am not sure where I am

            or where the crows are.

Morning is coming

            and I am far from home.

I keep walking.

It is not a comfortable plan

            but it is the one

            that matters most to me.


R.S. Russell

Many Crows ~ NuPastel & Ink, R.S. Russell