The crows come strutting over the front lawn
Like little weightlifters,
Neighborhood bullies in a black swagger,
Their croak more raucous than the cracking
Of enormous knuckles.
It's been that kind of day.
If you go out among them, waving your arms
With their own muscle and ruckus,
They don't back down.
They just jerk away,
Giving you a look that says, in rebuttal:
Kiss my shiny ass.
No stampede, no scatter, no retreat—
Only a mean scrabbling of claws,
Grappling hooks in the grass.
Oh, let them have it all,
The ground and the air and complicit trees.
Let them scratch out a living
Like the rest of us,
These scavengers, these thieves,
Whetting their beaks over roadkill and cornfield,
Cleaning up this mess
The world makes, raking through the trash
And daring you to scare them off,
As if they knew even a scrap of greasy
Lamb shank or a puddle of squirrel
Guts is as sweet
As peach pie on a plate of fine china.
When birds swash down like buccaneers
With their truculent vernacular, what can you do
But stand aside,
As everything gives way
To the raw thrust of appetite?
The Georgia Review