Gay Writes

“Crows” and “High Desert, Winter”

By Ked Kirkham

In a sapphire sky and crystal wind
five crows scatter,
as black as the rising ashes
of your letter.

You apologized,
for what
I do not remember,
having read it only one thousand times;
but forgive
and let it go,
sheet after sheet into the fire.

As many as the walnuts they drop
to break on the walk,
noisy crows harry a passing cat.
She is unmoved.
Who harvests from that tree now,
I do not know;
we are gone.

Reflecting a cold sun, crows
like obsidian chips on the yellowed grass
after the point makers
moved on, ahead of winter,
chastise me as I sit, chilled, above the river
from where I watched you go as well.

Crows and memories of us
follow me.
Flocks, on autumn afternoons;
a solitary bird  on winter mornings.
When I think I am free,
there, on a gate post
down the road
alights a crow,
and I look for you.

Winter dawning;
glint and glisten of chaff
held close in the furrows,
not by the same wind that
cards the clouds
caught on the mountains
or brushes the morning light
on the peaks opposite;
but a wind coming from the south,
following the canyons
until it can spread out
over the sallow fields.

Winter morning;
yellow light aloof
from the sage and juniper
of the east edge of the plateau,
though devoted
to Borah Peak’s south face,
softly gilt in the distance
beyond South Butte
and the Snake River plain.

Winter day;
six Osprey aloft,
above shallows and rapids
beneath the falls;
lifted up or pressed down
by the turns of wind
or basalt cliff.
Fishermen dare the cold
of the river
where lacy edges of ice
will shortly be solid
so that man and bird
must move on.

Gay Writes is a DiverseCity Series, a community outreach program of SLCC’s Community Writing Center, writing group. The group meets the 2nd and 4th Mondays of every month, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., 210 E. 400 South, Ste. 8, Salt Lake City.

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