“The Caws”

A poem for another cause--trans-species communication!
I wrote this last June--but saw the crows flying past my window
tonight and wanted to thank them for coming by.

What are the crows saying to each other?
Wouldn’t we all like to know? And—
Are they talking about us? Maybe,
sometimes. But—probably not.
We don’t know, though we poets
like to ventriloquize crow-wise,
longing to carry over meaning
from one being to another, word-
flinging, like when my pa said he
had the epizöotics when he felt bad,
the flu that flew around the world
in 1872, killing who knows how many
horses, all the way south to Cuba,
and as it passed humans grabbed
the word for ourselves. I thought
it was only his, he’d made it up,
and so it goes from age to age,
we stand at the crossroads of time
and history and whisper as the words
of those who’ve gone before pour
through our throats, we confabulate,
pontificate, prevaricate, we think
the words are ours. But not today.
Today I know what I’m hearing, the caws.
Today this poem belongs to the crows.

Minnie Bruce Pratt

Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivs
Creative Commons 2010

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