Thinking

Jorie Graham

I can’t really remember now. The soundless foamed.
A crow hung like a cough to a wire above me. There was a chill.
It was a version of a crow, untitled as such, tightly feathered
in the chafing air. Rain was expected. All round him air
dilated, as if my steady glance on him, cindering at the glance-core where
it held him tightest, swelled and sucked,
while round that core, first a transition, granular – then remembrance of thing being
seen – remembrance as it thins-out into matter, almost listless – then,
sorrow – if sorrow could be sterile – and the rest fraying off into all the directions,
variegated amnesias – lawns, black panes, screens the daylight
thralls into in search of well-edged things … If I squint, he glints.
The wire he’s on wobbly and his grip not firm.
Lifting each forked clawgrip again and again.
Every bit of wind toying with his hive of black balance.
Every now and then a passing car underneath causing a quick rearrangement.
The phonelines from six houses, and the powerlines from three
grouped-up above me – some first-rung of sky – him not comfortable,
nature silted-in to this maximum habitat – freedom
passers-by (woman, dog) vaguely relevant I’d guess though he doesn’t look down,
eyeing all round, disqualifying, disqualifying
all the bits within radius that hold no clue
to whatever is sought, urgent but without hurry,
me still by this hedge now, waiting for his black to blossom,
then wing-thrash where he falls at first against the powerline,
then updraft seized, gravity winnowed, the falling raggedly
reversed, depth suddenly pursued, its invisibility ridged – bless him –
until he is off, hinge by hinge, built of tiny wingtucks, filaments
of flapped-back wind, until the thing (along whose spine
his sentence of black talk, thrashing, wrinkling, dissipates – the history, the wiring,
shaking, with light –) is born.