What the Crows Did

The crows in the golf course behind campus
knew the hospital, knew the blood
they took, knew the mud, my mind. I blew into the wind
and the wind blew back.

The crows in the hemlock witnessed me transfixed
by an icicle, my feet on the pavement,
it dangling from the tip of a broken branch,
milky-white against bark the color of old blood.

The crows in the courtyard cawed and cawed to taunt
our cat twenty feet up the trunk of a red oak.
Come down! I yelled, and he turned,
picked his way face-first down the bark again.

There’s my crow friend, said my coworker
with Iroquois blood. What does he tell you? I asked.
Nothing really. Just, “I’m here.”
Someone else who talks to crows.

In March, the crows huddle in the lee
of the white pines. I’m walking in a thin
curtain of sleet, breathing hard, my spirit rises,
my blood crying Yes, alive!

                                                            The crows
caw, approving.


The Window

It knew my breath—the window
of the old white Ford
that carried us from California,
its late-night evacuations

One long exhale, a frost-white sheen—
my fingertip
traced letters on the glass

Water dripped from those lines,
all the words that I wrote, all the empty
hours in the back of that old, white Ford

Over the desert we flew—in Utah
a grain from the Great Salt Lake
flew in through the hole in the floorboard
into my mouth, tasting of the sea

In Nebraska Mom pulled off the highway—
stopped in an empty parking lot
in that night-desert town,
stretched once and fell asleep

My brother’s head in my lap,
no place for me to lie down,
I watched all night,
breathed the window, wrote my secrets


Frances Donovan’s publication credits include Borderlands, Snapdragon, Marathon Literary Review, Dirty Chai, Gender Focus, and The Writer. She curated the Poetry@Prose reading series in Arlington, Massachusetts, and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues. She has been living with bipolar disorder and PTSD for most of her life. Find her online at www.gardenofwords.com. Twitter: @okelle.