It’s just a tree, a nondescript tree,
Anonymous, like everyone else here,
Growing from the edge of the asphalt
Where cars park for the tenement two doors down.
The tree is a survivor, it HAS to be
You gotta be tough to live in the urban
Jungle I call home. Bad things happen here.
Even the squirrels pack heat in my neighborhood.
Something different with this tree,
In the summer regular green foliage
That drops in the fall and as winter comes
Is replaced by clumps of shiny black leaves that caw.
Caw? These must be crows, not leaves,
And this must be what they call a crow tree
Where these birds yard up when it gets cold
For companionship, and the warmth of body heat.
Sometimes a dozen, sometimes more
They cling to the branches, sometimes still,
Sometimes inky wings all a-flap as they look
For some old crow buddy to share a bit of bird gossip.
“Hey Charlie..did you see the road kill
Down the street? Better go get your share
Before the seagulls and stray cats eat it all and
There’s nothing left but the bones and a grease spot”
“Nah Ernie I got a better gig…I found
An open dumpster from that diner over there.
Why don’t you and I go down and have breakfast?
Oh and invite the other guys. There’s plenty for everybirdy.”
“Watch out for them crazy white animals
With no feathers and that can’t fly. Damned
Critters hate us! Always chasing us away from
A good feed. Why can’t they go find their own grub?”
So it goes: yakking, scolding, preening
These black birdy-bird leaves; winter long
Flapping, cawing, arguing, crow-cussing. Live foliage On a nameless tree in the city where I live. September 29, 2009