Lines West: Nov. 8


The crow was alive when I saw it first.

Very still, a black puddle on the grass, but alive.

The body rising and falling with breath.

Best left alone to do its dying.

In the morning, the workers would remove it.

But they did not.  The crow lay there, dead.

In the morning, and in the evening, I passed by.

Why did it die there?

Why not under the bushes, or huddled against a rock, or a tree?

Wild things don’t just lie down in the middle of a lawn

and wait to die.  This one did.

A third day, and a fourth, and fifth, I walked by.

It lay there, still dead.

One day alive.  Four days dead.

This morning, I picked it up and put it in the dumpster, dead.

— Helen Sperber (2013)


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