As the Crow Flies
The black crow surveys what will be hers While I walk empty streets and boulevards Playing the waiting game. The crows, sparrows and wild parrots have gotten louder every day As nature takes back the city. Getting bolder, Swooping low, soaring, cawing Challenging the human claim to habitat. I keep an uneasy purchase On the claim to my land and lungs. Passing her territory The crow sounds the alarm But she is barely worried about me. In our own precarious nest Beloved son arrives abruptly from school Earring in his lobe and vegetarian leanings. He is presumed healthy for exactly one day. Then fever, cough, strict isolation Food delivered on a tray Contaminated laundry stuffed into plastic bags His father on the pandemic front lines Bringing home the virus. The boy goes from quarantine to evacuation Reigniting Operation Pied Piper of wartime England Children sent to the countryside Mine is in a converted garage Eking out a half-life In the San Fernando Valley Twenty four miles away As the crow flies. His upright bass Too big to take to college Keeps a silent vigil Sometimes I jump Thinking the large instrument is a person Threatening the dark living room. Tomorrow will see a partial lift of the quarantine The cacophony of avian noise is rising While the black crow cackles in delight For she knows it is too soon.
Jennifer won an out-of-county Honorable Mention.. She is featured in our first official book publication, In the Quarantined Room: Reflections on the COVID-19 Experience in Indian River County, FL 2020. To find out more about the book and to purchase a copy, click here.