Quieter now, the engines, the road work, the generator,
cement truck, track layer, steam roller, pedestrians
hollering over the chunking of bike gears,
the colossal vents of the curling rink, goose communication,
your slow stabs of thought, and a winter of crows
above, a system settling in over heated laces of concrete,
under darkening cradle of sky, the orange sodium triangles
snapping into place for the night,
the quivering of millions of flight feathers in wind,
the tangle of humans hurling themselves home
from their jobs, certain no one can see them
or hear what they say to themselves
under crows by the thousands, thick in the treetops.
You hop the fence of your humanity
to teem with the crisping choir of wings,
minds in such numbers above, speckling the steel grey sky
with their clamour and their planning,
and they can hear you, your exhalations,
your dumb wonder, your memory of magpie,
gopher hole, poplar scent, saskatoon,
what canola smells like, and oil refineries,
lodged in this form in this place coursing its own river,
which you want to get closer to but haven’t
and can’t yet, and the crows let you admit it.
Under these roiling dark bodies, nearly
languageless, falling for supermarket hyacinth,
the people around you looking up and cowering, flooring it,
past this receding stand of trees, the roots with less and less
to hold onto, bird and human seem after the same thing:
warmth, safety in numbers, an unperturbed sleep.
Look how much farther the humans think
they need to travel to find it.
Laurie D. Graham hails from Treaty 6 territory and now lives on the Haldimand Tract. She is a poet, editor, the publisher of Brick Magazine, and a member of the advisory board for Oskana Poetry & Poetics. Her first book, Rove, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and her second book, Settler Education, was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry.