Counting Crows

 

Let's say you are here, 

and we take this early morning

in hand and walk the Tohoku trails.

 

We speak of crows flying overhead

against a front coming in from the sea of Japan.

The polished tips of our slender fingers trace

the Neanderthal forehead of the jungle crow 

as we follow its flight.

 

Above the breathy rings of conversation,

the collective caw of carrions and ravens

echo off wires and tree limbs.

 

Because we have a common language, 

we can speak of this,

 

and of the wind in from Siberia,

the scent of lilies in a glass jar, 

trees laden with persimmons 

and the sound of rattling panes 

as dusk begins to fall by four. 

 

Our voices cut the distance,

clear as prismed light.

The collective cry of crows 

from far feeding grounds

summons a gathering to a common nest.

 

Let's say you are here 

and we take this morning,    

rely on a common language, 

term all that is true— 

 

Ripe persimmons and rattling panes,

ravens and carrion crows—

counting them as they secure

the patchwork sky,

design their way home

 

 

Finding Polaris

 

You can always pinpoint it

looking for the triangular shine,

I want to learn to find that light 

on the nights I'll be alone.

For so much depends upon 

what we leave each other.

Somewhere in the story 

is our true north,

directions to travel alone, 

to remember to lift our faces, 

gaze upward.

We need now to create 

new ways to look at old stars, 

even though I would rather dwell 

in our past heavens when desire 

was in a turn of phrase

and the indigo sky was clearly plentiful. 

On those nights, you'd take my hand, 

trace beginnings and endings 

of constellations that lit our lives.

Laurie Kuntz has been nominated for a Pushcart and Best of the Net prize. Her book The Moon Over My Mother's House is published by Finishing Line Press. Her 5th poetry book Talking Me off the Roof  is forthcoming from Kelsay Press in late 2022.