Lucky, Lucky Me
Once, not long ago, Linda Gregg spoke
of white crows. They inhabited her world,
a blasted, untamed landscape she conjured up
for us, her willing believers. Some would have
gladly become her acolytes, but she had
none of it. She went it alone, criss-crossing
the land with a voice stolen from a ghost,
confident most mistook it for death,
the death we’ve learned to expect some
unnamed day. I’ve searched for those crows.
White, I’ve decided, is an easy color to hide
behind. Gregg also told us they were both
male & female. What else? Yet I’m thinking
those white crows are a third gender,
a savage, remorseless sex that drains life
from the eyes, bleaching the soul with their
remorseless, unwavering gaze. They are
happy creatures, happy crows, their caws
the voice of joy, at a pitch only crows can hear.
Common crows—Corvus, our lasting friends—
have no room for such joy in their lives.
I’ve searched, too, for the lambs she
mentioned, the chosen ones, to no avail.
I think now I will find them both—the white
crows, the chosen lambs—when the plague
now afflicting the lands to the north spreads
farther south. They’ll congregate—in flocks,
in herds—in supermarket parking lots, chanting
Death, Death, Death in unison. And only I—
lucky, lucky me—will see & hear them.
In the half-death of winter,
a day whose only companions
are wind & ice, you might stand out
in the weather freezing & then freezing
even more, waiting for nothing other
than a deep chill to brittle your bones.
There is no good reason for this
but that the wind—stabbing, untamed,
predatory as a sabertooth—holds a truth
with a bite all its own, a truth, as it
happens, cursed as any dark omen.
Whatever it tells you, standing alone,
shivering & exposed, your breath frost,
there is little else to do but remain
where you are, watching the life you know
heave & buckle in the driving sleet.
Sid Gold is the author of four books of poetry, including Crooked Speech (Pond Road Press, 2018) and a twice recipient of the Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Award for Poetry. In 2019 he was voted among Baltimore’s Best Poets in Baltimore Magazine‘s Annual Reader’s Poll. His work has appeared recently in Schuylkill Valley Journal, One Art, Gargoyle, Loch Raven Review, and Maryland Literary Review. He lives in Hyattsville Md.