Crow Funeral by Kate Hanson Foster


No one notices the dead crow alongside
            the road, soft underbelly exposed, neck
broken from the fall.             No one hears

the harpocratic ghost among leaves, the muteness
            of all is said and done—the last
invisible breath in an air sac breaking out, breaking away.

We hear the murder, the hysterical,             full
            to bursting cries.       Hundreds of wings collecting
in ceremony like a starless lake no one can enter.

No one sees the plane vanish over the ocean,
            no one feels the thick multitude of salt and sky
take hold, metal cutting or not cutting the water.

And how the earth goes on breathing, stubborn
            in its own perpetuity.           We let our voices explode
between us. The TV glows and hums, an ongoing

procession of make meaning,             make me
            understand.   Why can’t we put our finger on this
and drag it back, like an oil slick across a computer screen?

The crows scold loudly as if to say look:
            look at one of us fallen,         see the danger,
feel how it hurts—the dead crow sizzling

in the pavement like a fallen roof shingle. So nothing,
            so gone this thing we have lost.
No one finds the plane.         Instead we count

the days since the vanishing. A digital clock
            spins numbers like a tiny planet on the corner
of the TV.       Headlines roll and ask questions:

Is this God?             Is this terror?
            Someone needs to find the plane, find the answer.
The crows disperse slowly, silently.             A few at a time,

and then more.         They know sooner or later
to move on.                         The clouds always let go,
the wind falls apart. Everyone knows sooner or later

we have to stop counting.          There will be something
            new to cry out for. Something else to gather
and dress us all in black.         And there will be urns and roses,

a chorus of music—a poem or prayer
            will get it just right.             God or no God,
let us make it more               than what it is.
Kate Hanson Foster‘s first book of poems, Mid Drift, was published by Loom Press and was selected by Massachusetts Center for the Book as a “Must Read” in 2011. She gained her MFA from Bennington College, and her poetry has appeared in California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore and elsewhere.