Thinking, by Jorie Graham

Another poem I fell in love with immediately…


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.

– Jorie Graham


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