Friday, April 19, 2013
Three Poems by J.K. Durick
They’re easy enough to pick up.
Grab them mid-shell and lug ‘em
across the road, like some careful
god out of your machine meddling
with fate once more. As if destiny
placed you properly for this once.
The one I picked up to save, flicked
his head from side to side and
opened his terrible mouth to snap
this way and that, flinging and
waving his feet as if he were trying
to crawl away, swimming in the air
all the way to the other side
where I set him down, away from
the cruelty of cars and kicks.
Later when I looked back from
up the road a bit, I noticed that
he had turned around and was
heading right back across the road
and he looked just as determined
and as fragile as he did before
I bent down to save him from
things that must be inevitable.
Life too often seems like that.
I’m not some roadkill attracting these crows,
but they’re ominous, nonetheless; like now –
the cawing, stiff legged walk of them,
their eyes, the certainty of it all,
their color, the color of our fears.
Perhaps it’s primal, the lesson our ancestors
absorbed in their blood with birth,
then spilled, swilled on endless battlefields;
or the explorer in us, the wanderer who
took the wrong turn in confusing woods;
or the family out on the frontier,
when their food ran lower and lower,
and they were all that was left for them;
or the suicide we found hanging
off the path to the beach that summer
weeks after he gave up his eyes to them;
or the parts the police identify
by the old logging road,
that unidentified person of pieces
we know by looking at ourselves.
And they are watching us, even now,
cautiously, with calm certainty –
for crows landing will be
the very last thing we see.
Been tugging on this line seems like
Forever this afternoon waiting for
a nibble to remind me why I'm here.
J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.