Crow: 9 Permutations

by Sean Lovelace

Crow muttering curses.

Crow, Crow–its blurry machine.

Crow thinking: am I one of them now? Slumped and slouched, all my days. Do I prefer cobs of corn to freedom?

Crow, taking flight.

Air disturbed. Crow running errands purely to drink. Crow of no goodbyes. Crow desperate. Crow’s hunger impels. Crow pulling it off, mostly. Crow looking into mirror, flipping the bird. Crow’s mind sifting, sand-scrubbed and eroded, fallen years, years, arrow-shot–plunging one way. Crow morphing hollow, ribs inside out, scrape, scrape. Crow bored by the nest, by nestlings–by its own construction. Crow ruffling. Some wild, dry cry. Some taste of fisted claw. Another hypnosis. Another errand, another flight. Crow in the clouds. Clouds as roiling Crow. Rain falling, thunder clap; light lashing out on silver hinge.

Crow attempts to preen…

Crow sleeps, shudders, reflects the Panasonic. The eyes. And from them vision. Transcripted flicker. Iris, atramentous. The swirl. Of wind, of prophecy. Of I could be this; I could be this–just look! Feathers glistening to quill, to silvery oil. Barbs sprouting barbicels, sprouting barbs, cyclical hooks: razor bill, curling wing, talon. The feather-sigh, the flex. The hollow shaft. The eye, yellow of neon/of ossicle (splintery, razed)/of child-cry/of hematoma tendrils…

This age of open, hungry mouths–all arisen. This time-stretched sky. Crow caws: alarm, assembly, distress.

Crow’s brain desires to plunge, to cobble and clatter, to leave its nest-skull. To peck at some glittering thing. To question. To tongue. To sex. To flame up. Bolts of oily night: bubble or bum. Crackle of windpipe, necklace wire, some conduit, to push and fly. To prod. To fold wing. To plummet.

Crow awakes! Crow gnashes. Crow snaps shut. Rocks back. Feels claustrophobic. Totters into the clouds. “I want to be sent home right away,” says Crow. “I want diet Lowenbrau vitamin soda. I want inner beauty and my own magazine. And to be always backlit. I want to sleep now. To stop this dizzy flight. To safely perch. To lay my head in a lap like a child.”

…negative, Crow.

(alarm, assembly, distress)

Crow circling, watching. The wing and the winged one. Spiraling. Binding knots. Black needle in the blister sky. Black thread trailing…observing Crow.

Crow of fermentation

mad slap of words

Crow of language

sunshine/moonshine (one intoxicates)

Crow of conversation

solely to fill space

Crow of silence

eating entire dinners

Crow of intercourse

versus sleeping

Crow of compromise

each one taking; only taking

Crow of patience

pitched just slightly over

Crow of cloudbank

rustling black robes

Crow of plummet

wing vein, leaf vein, sidewalk crack, or explicate the claw, the palms (dividing)

Crow of offspring


Crow of insomnia

stripes and curves of light,

evening jag, air of bile and throat-constriction/what is ticking?

Crow of rain

flight above littered streets

Crow of age

the flock departs, survival

Crow of empty

hardwood glare

Crow of answers

Crow of mirror

everything fine, everything tasteless (as in

same), everything candy-dark, sunset,

watercolorist fade. Missed call, to missed

call–purposely, all exposed;

everything Crow.

Sean Lovelace is on a river right now. He has a spinning rod and a beer. Other times he teaches at Ball State University. He recently won the CrazyHorse fiction prize, and his works have appeared in Diagram, Puerto del Sol, Willow Springs, and so on.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008