By Karl Plank
How a murder of crows gathered in the corn field while
You played with fiddle and bow. The other
Keeps you awake and
Involves what happens next, which
No one really knows.
Generally, most suggest the worst,
Doling out predictions of ruined harvest,
Of stalks stripped bare and ravaged. Their
Mouths are mean, but you see where they’re
Coming from and have wondered the same.
Often it is that way. An excess of
Merriment feels like something you should pay
Extra for, a judgment requiring forfeit
To balance an unforgiving scale.
How dour this is. And how it makes you
When the crows came you saw no cloud of
Ill fate, nor saw at all beyond the
Luxury of daylight’s lifting of
Languor, the hot and heavy
Burdens hard to escape
Except when breezes blow,
Daring all to flutter, to dance at least
Once in golden beams,
Never thinking of how it could end
Except in music.
Karl Plank is the author of A Field, Part Arable (Lithic, 2017) and the critical work, The Fact of the Cage: Reading and Redemption in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest (Routledge, 2021). His poetry has appeared in publications such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Tahoma Literary Review, St. Katherine’s Review, and Zone 3, and has been featured on Poetry Daily. He is the J.W. Cannon Professor of Religion at Davidson College