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June 2008, vol 4 no 2

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Chris Burdett

 

Crows

Tuesday evening the two rolls in the Styrofoam leftover container are too hard to eat, so I throw them out into the backyard. The following morning as I sit at the kitchen table with my bowl of Cheerios and cup of hot Ovaltine, I see three crows land in the backyard. Almost immediately one of the crows flies off with a roll in its beak. A minute later another crow follows. The third crow struts its bobbing gait around the yard for ten minutes before it flies off, its beak empty, with a derisive Kaw.

steam from my coffee
rising in the morning chill—
up to watch the sunrise

Wednesday night we have one piece of pizza left, which, in our stuffed-to-feeling-sick condition, we decide isn't enough to justify the room it would occupy in our already crammed refrigerator. I am careful to tear the slice into three roughly equal pieces before I throw it out into the backyard.

as I sit down
the rocking chair creaks in protest
and so do I

Thursday morning I spend two hours at the kitchen table waiting for the crows to come. They never show. Later in the day I happen to look through the dining room window and I see them in the yard two houses down, and I feel a twinge of jealousy. I also feel--either incongruously or not, I can't decide--a mild hunger that I know could be satisfied by a single slice of pizza.

birdfeeders
dancing in place on their pole—
my own snores awaken me

Friday afternoon as I feed my one-year-old daughter at the kitchen table, the phone rings. It is my wife, calling home from work to see how we are doing; I tell her we are doing fine, that Jessica is in a good mood and we are both having a good lunch. I glance out into the backyard and I see our crows land. With the phone cradled between my shoulder and ear, I pull a hamburger bun from its bag and tear it into three pieces. The crows fly away when I open the sliding glass doors, but I fling the pieces of bread outside anyway. The crows return as my daughter announces that lunch is over by ripping her bib off and tossing it to the kitchen floor. By the time I get her cleaned up and out of her high chair, each has flown away with a bit of bun in its beak.

my cup now empty
I rise, return to bed—
ah, Saturday morning!

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